Marine Band Communication
The U.S. Coast Guard broadcasts coastal forecasts storm warnings of interest, broadcast notice to mariners (BNM) and urgent marine information broadcasts (UMIB)to the mariner on VHF-FM. Information broadcasts are on channel 22A following an initial announcement on VHF channel 16. Typical coverage is 20 nautical miles offshore, but can be significantly greater. Visit the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Telecommunications Information webpage for further information on U.S. Coast Guard telecommunications including maps showing areas of VHF coverage and Rules Which Require Listening to your VHF Marine Radio. See tables below for a listing of current broadcast schedules of U.S. Coast Guard Group stations performing VHF voice broadcasts.
Mariners take note that commercial marine mobile radio service in Alaska ended on Oct. 23, 2003. The Coast Guard continues to monitor VHF Channel 16 for distress calls. The Coast Guard radio operators are equivalent to a 9-1-1 operator and are not available to handle routine information. Technological advances allow mariners to use email and satellite phones while underway, if the vessel is so equipped.
In areas where NOAA Weather Radio broadcasts provide complete overlapping coverage of the U.S. Coast Guard VHF network, the U.S. Coast Guard may elect to broadcast storm warnings only and not routinely broadcast NWS marine forecasts.