MARCOM 2 MARITIME VHF EXCHANGES 2.0 Introduction Any conversation at sea, i.e.

a ship-to -ship, ship-to-shore or shore-to-ship exchange, consists of the following stages: 1. MAKING CONTACT 2. EXCHANGE OF MESSAGES 3. END PROCEDURE The smallest interactive unit (i.e. unit of conversation) in spoken marine communications is the exchange. It refers to a single topic and consists of two turns, one held by the controlling station (first speaker/ship/shore-based station) and the other by the responding station (second speaker/ship/shore-based station). A turn represents everything one speaker says or asks ‘at one go’, i.e. the time between his pressing and releasing the speaker key on the VHF radiotelephone). The speaker normally ends his turn by using the word ‘over’ as a signal indicating that he has finished his turn and that the turn is yielded or given to the hearer, who then takes the turn (turn-taking). Two turns referring to a single topic (the subject of conversation) make a maritime exchange. A single exchange, or more usually, two or more exchanges on a single or a number of topics, make a maritime VHF conversation.

The most important part of the turn is the move or act, the speaker’s contribution to the exchange or success of conversation. A move or an speech act may be a word, phrase, or a sentence which the speaker uses in his turn to express his intention, query, request or purpose of communication (e.g. MAYDAY RECEIVED; WHAT ARE YOUR INTENTIONS?; WHAT ARE MY BERTHING INSTRUCTIONS?, etc.).
The principal acts in maritime VHF or other spoken communications are: QUESTION ANSWER INFORMATION INSTRUCTION ADVICE REQUEST INTENTION WARNING QUESTION RECEIVED ANSWER RECEIVED INFORMATION RECEIVED INSTRUCTION RECEIVED ADVICE RECEIVED REQUEST RECEIVED INTENTION RECEIVED WARNING RECEIVED

These are referred to in SMCP 2001 as MESSAGE MARKERS and introduce the speaker’s intention or what he is going to say of ask
The primary acts in a normal conversation are: ACCEPT ACKNOWLEDGE AGREE ANSWER APOLOGY CALL-OFF CHECK REPLY CONFIRM DISAGREE GREETING EVALUATE EXCUSE ME INFORM INVITE REQUEST OBJECTION OFFER OPPOSE QUESTION REACT REPEAT REJECT THANK

. The spoken word for the distress signal. Conversation is ended and no response is expected. In Radio Traffic: I have a message for you which I intend to read. The spoken word for the urgency signal. The correct information should be … . A polite form of ending the conversation. or I do not agree.. or permission granted I request that all ships receiving this transmission (in the specified sea area) listen to what follows I must break (into) this conversation for urgent reasons I wish to speak to … Change to channel…..CORRECTION: … No. I have finished my operation and wish to stop communicating Proceed with your message. I am terminating my transmission. or that is not correct. I have finished my message I am calling on channel … My transmission is ended and I expect a response from you.. How well are you receiving me? Do you receive me? I READ BAD / POOR / FAIR / GOOD/WELL / EXCELLENT/1…5. My version is _____.. before proceeding. used before the word OUT.PASS ON YOUR MESSAGE There is a mistake in the transmission. Used as a response to an initial distress message if your ship or station is able to render assistance. I am being interrupted. Is the spoken word for the distress relay signal.. I will take action to deal with it. .OTHER SPEECH ACTS / MOVES OR PHRASES (used in conducting maritime VHF communications are): WORD or PHRASE MEANING ACKNOWLEDGE AFFIRMATIVE ALL SHIPS IN … (AREA) BREAK CALLING CHANNEL CONFIRM CORRECTION FINAL CALL GO AHEAD HAVE A GOOD WATCH / VOYAGE HOW DO YOU READ? INTERRUPTION I SAY AGAIN I AM COMING TO YOUR ASSITANCE MAYDAY MAYDAY RELAY MESSAGE FOR YOU MISTAKE NEGATIVE NOTHING MORE … ON CHANNEL … OVER OUT PAN PAN Let me know that you have received and understood this message Yes. The correct version is ___. Is that correct? An error / mistake has been made in this transmission (message indicated). Used instead of “I repeat”). . Say if you are ready to receive it.

This command comes from a vessel or coast station other than the station in distress. (not recommended) I must pause for a few seconds or minutes.. (Do not use the word "repeat". I have difficulty in following or understanding Spell (e. The command comes from the ship in distress. please wait. (not recommended) Self-explanatory. Is the international expression to advise that a distress situation is in progress. . (not recommended) I have received your message number….) I SAY AGAIN : … The spoken word for the safety signal. (Do not use the word "repeat".g. Communication is to be restricted to ship's business or messages of a higher priority. Indicates that silence has been imposed on the frequency due to a distress situation.) I have received all of your last transmission. Polite statement of apology or for having made a MISTAKE in transmission Remain on VHF channel … STANDING BY ON CHANNEL … Response to “Stand by …” . communications can resume on a restricted basis. Is the international expression to advise that a distress situation is in progress. your ship's name) using the phonetic alphabet I SPELL … / I AM SPELLING … Use SMCP (formerly SMNV) during this conversation During long distress situations. Is the international expression for a distress cancellation.I agree to keep watch on VHF channel … READBACK ROGER ROGER NUMBER ROGER STANDBY SAY AGAIN SECURITE SEELONCE SEELONCE DISTRESS SEELONCE FEENEE SEELONCE MAYDAY SORRY STAND BY ON VHF CHANNEL … STANDING BY on . Repeat all of this message back to me exactly as received after I have given OVER.PLEASE ACKNOWLEDGE PLEASE READ BACK PLEASE SPEAK IN FULL / SLOWLY PLEASE SPELL … PLEASE USE SMCP PRUDONCE Indicate that you have received what I have just said Read back to me the information that I have just given READING BACK: … Do not abbreviate your messages / speak slowly.

course. I do not know its name or call sign (give relative position. Wait for … minutes and do not terminate Which channel do you suggest ? SWITCH TO VHF CHANNEL … . My name (call sign) is … I have received and understood the information and I shall read it back to you now.(optional response: READBACK IS CORRECT) I wish to make contact with the ship described. speed) Check coding. 8 and ch. type. colour.STAY ON STOP TRANSMITTING SWITCH TO VHF CHANNEL … AGREE VHF CHANNEL … SWITCHING TO CHANNEL … VHF CHANNEL … UNABLE VHF CHANNEL AVAILABLE 08 THROUGH 15 THAT IS CORRECT WHICH VHF CHANNEL? THANK YOU THIS IS … UNDERSTOOD UNKNOWN SHIP … VERIFY WAIT … MINUTES WHICH VHF CHANNEL? Do not terminate this conversation or change the subject because I have more to say Stop transmitting on this channel (a higher priority transmission going on or to be started) I suggest that you switch / go / change to channel … Positive response to the Instruction: ‘Switch to VHF channel …’ I accept the suggested channel and am just changing to / going to that VHF channel I cannot switch to channel … I can only operate on VHF channels from 8 to 15 (including ch. 15) Self-explanatory Which channel do you suggest ? SWITCH TO VHF CHANNEL … Polite statement of gratitude Used to identify a station. . check text with originator and send Correct version.

The spoken word for the distress signal. Is the spoken word for the distress relay signal. I will take action to deal with it.. My version is _____. The correct version is ___. or I do not agree. How well are you receiving me? Do you receive me? I READ BAD / POOR / FAIR / GOOD/WELL / EXCELLENT/1…5. . used before the word OUT. or permission granted I request that all ships receiving this transmission (in the specified sea area) listen to what follows I must break (into) this conversation for urgent reasons I wish to speak to … Change to channel….. Say if you are ready to receive it. A polite form of ending the conversation. The correct information should be … . I have finished my operation and wish to stop communicating Proceed with your message.PASS ON YOUR MESSAGE There is a mistake in the transmission.(OTHER SPEECH ACTS / MOVES) (used in conducting maritime VHF communications are): Write down the VHF/SMCP phrase corresponding to the explanation in the right column: VHF/SMCP PHRASE MEANING Let me know that you have received and understood this message Yes. Used as a response to an initial distress message if your ship or station is able to render assistance. I have finished my message I am calling on channel … My transmission is ended and I expect a response from you.. In Radio Traffic: I have a message for you which I intend to read.. or that is not correct. I am being interrupted. . before proceeding. I am terminating my transmission... Conversation is ended and no response is expected.CORRECTION: … No. Is that correct? An error / mistake has been made in this transmission (message indicated). Used instead of “I repeat”).

Is the international expression to advise that a distress situation is in progress. Polite statement of apology or for having made a MISTAKE in transmission Remain on VHF channel … STANDING BY ON CHANNEL … Response to “Stand by …” . Communication is to be restricted to ship's business or messages of a higher priority. (Do not use the word "repeat". please wait. Indicates that silence has been imposed on the frequency due to a distress situation. Indicate that you have received what I have just said Read back to me the information that I have just given READING BACK: … Do not abbreviate your messages / speak slowly. I have difficulty in following or understanding Spell (e. Is the international expression for a distress cancellation. (not recommended) I must pause for a few seconds or minutes.) I have received all of your last transmission. The command comes from the ship in distress. (Do not use the word "repeat".I agree to keep watch on VHF channel … Do not terminate this conversation or change the subject .The spoken word for the urgency signal. (not recommended) I have received your message number…. (not recommended) Self-explanatory. your ship's name) using the phonetic alphabet I SPELL … / I AM SPELLING … Use SMCP (formerly SMNV) during this conversation During long distress situations. communications can resume on a restricted basis. Repeat all of this message back to me exactly as received after I have given OVER.) I SAY AGAIN : … The spoken word for the safety signal. Is the international expression to advise that a distress situation is in progress. This command comes from a vessel or coast station other than the station in distress.g.

course. type. speed) Check coding. colour.(optional response: READBACK IS CORRECT) I wish to make contact with the ship described.because I have more to say Stop transmitting on this channel (a higher priority transmission going on or to be started) I suggest that you switch / go / change to channel … Positive response to the Instruction: ‘Switch to VHF channel …’ I accept the suggested channel and am just changing to / going to that VHF channel I cannot switch to channel … I can only operate on VHF channels from 8 to 15 (including ch. I do not know its name or call sign (give relative position. My name (call sign) is … I have received and understood the information and I shall read it back to you now. check text with originator and send Correct version. 15) Self-explanatory Which channel do you suggest ? SWITCH TO VHF CHANNEL … Polite statement of gratitude Used to identify a station. . 8 and ch. Wait for … minutes and do not terminate Which channel do you suggest ? SWITCH TO VHF CHANNEL … .

. Rewrite the stages in the correct sequence: Correct sequence of stages: AGREE A WORKING VHF 1. TERMINATE 3.Exercise 2. CHANNEL EXCHANGE MESSAGES 2.0 The following four stages in a marine VHF conversation are in the wrong order. MAKE CONTACT 4.

switch-over procedure Calling Station Responding Station Table 2. 4.1 – MAKING CONTACT Contact making includes the following steps: CALLING STATION RESPONDING STATION 1. agreeing/disagreeing with the working channel. 5. 5.1 1 2. initial call response to initial call indicating the working channel agreeing/disagreeing with the working channel switch-over procedure switch-over procedure Exercise 2. initial call.1 The steps of the Making Call procedure below is in the wrong sequence. Rewrite the steps in the correct order in the Table 2.1: response to initial call indicating the working channel. 3. . 4. 3.MARCOM 2. 2.

(turn-giving signal) Case 1. PLEASE . not suggested by SMCP) ** also GO AHEAD (optional) Role-play 1: Work in pairs with student A playing the role of Calling Station and student B playing the role of Responding Station: Calling Station SEA BREEZE TRG6 GENTLE OAK BRI3 DARK LADY NSCK MALINSKA HRLU GENOA PRIDE IASM9 GREAT CIRCLE PSWE Responding Station NEWPORT PILOT STATION JEDDAH COAST STATION SANTIAGO PORT CONTROL GOTHENBURG VTS TARIFFA RADIO LLOYD’S SIGNAL STATION .Exercise 2. THIS IS RIJEKA RADIO. RIJEKA RADIO THIS IS MARLIN DLG3Y. MARLIN DLG3Y.name of the ship being called is known: Calling Station: RIJEKA RADIO.1 Initial call Initial call contains the following: a) Address (the station you are calling. two or three times) b) Identify (your own station) c) (state the) VHF channel (on which you are calling) d) Over. RIJEKA RADIO.(frequently used.* OVER Responding Station: MARLIN DLG3Y.1. Single station call . RIJEKA RADIO (ON VHF CHANNEL ONE-SIX)** OVER * also COME IN. MARLIN DLG3Y. (CALLING) ON CHANNEL 16.

NEWHAVEN RADIO. ON CHANNEL 16 OVER Responding station NEWHAVEN RADIO. Single station call . NEWHAVEN RADIO THIS IS SEA BASS VC3G. ON CHANNEL 16 OVER Role-play 2: Work in pairs with student A playing the role of Calling Station and student B playing the role of Responding Station: Calling Station GOTHENBURG VTS JEDDAH COAST STATION BARCELONA. SEA BASS VC3G. IVCX SWORDFISH. SEA BASS VC3G.NEWCASTLE CXQZ SAVANNAH COASTGUARD Case 2.name and call sign of the ship/station is known: Calling station SEA BASS VC3G. SEA BASS VC3G. THIS IS NEWHAVEN RADIO. SEA BASS VC3G. EWQO RIJEKA RADIO JEDDAH COAST STATION Responding Station SEA BREEZE TRG6 GENTLE OAK BRI3 DARK LADY NSCK MALINSKA HRLU GENOA PRIDE IASM9 GREAT CIRCLE PSWE NEWCASTLE CXQZ . JKLD MADRAS II.

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THIS IS ROTTERDAM VTS.6 MILES. IN POSITION: BEARING: 1-8-5 DEGREES FROM PUNTA STELLA. ALL STATIONS IN SEA AREA MAAS APPROACH. THIS IS SEA URCHIN. or . RESPONDING STATION: ROTTERDAM VTS.Case 3 General Call . N-W-F-9. RIJEKA RADIO. DISTANCE: 4. SPEED: 14 KNOTS. COURSE: 158 DEGREES.6 MILES. ALL SHIPS IN SEA AREA BAY OF RIJEKA. TYPE: TANKER. CALLING UNKNOWN SHIP. ROTTERDAM VTS. ALL SHIPS. OVER. CALLING UNKNOWN SHIP IN POSITION: BEARING: 1-8-5 DEGREES FROM BOUY B15 DISTANCE: 0. OVER or ALL STATIONS. ALL STATIONS. HULL COLOUR: BLUE. OVER.name of the station/ship is unknown: Example 1: CALLING STATION ALL SHIPS. THIS IS RIJEKA RADIO.

COURSE: 172 DEGREES. . MOTOR TANKER SHELLFISH ON YOUR STARBOARD BOW. vessels should fully observe the Collision Regulations. CONTAINER VESSEL ON MY PORT BOW.CONTAINER VESSEL ON MY PORT BOW*. OVER. this type of VHF communication is discouraged by SMCP 2001 and COLREGS 1972. THIS IS MOTOR TANKER SHELLFISH. SPEED: 12 KNOTS. * Though very frequent in real situations at sea. Instead.

at a speed of approximateIy 8 knots (MALINSKA HRLU) passenger ferry. ro-ro ship. steering a course of 231°. (DARK LADY NSCK) GOTHENBURG VTS Gothenburg VTS. 2. steering a course of STATION 50°. 2. blue. 6 miles from Tariffa harbour entrance. 89 degrees from Cabo Holy Spirit.2 Role play 3 – pair work 1 2 3 4 CALLING Station RESPONDING Station NEWPORT PILOT Newport Waterway.Ex. sea area Masekar. steering southwest. Container vessel. six miles from Mow Point. 10 knots (KORKYRA NIGRA HRZC) LLOYD’S SIGNAL LASH type. (GREAT CIRCLE PSWE) SAVANNAH tanker: hull colour white with COASTGUARD black funnel steering 85°. at a speed of 10 knot (NEWCASTLE CXQZ) 5 6 7 .5 nautical miles. CONTROL white. 17 miles per hour (GENTLE OAK BRI3) SANTIAGO PORT Gulf of Santiago. STATION yellow funnel. cruise ship. at a speed of 15 knots. STATION course and speed: 269 degrees T. red funnels. white hull with TARIFFA RADIO green funnels.6 NM from Point Mike (SEA BREEZE TRG6) JEDDAH COAST Jeddah VTS. VLCC. 145 degr 1.

What should you (Master/OOW) do when the info on the traffic list is transmitted? .Define the term ‘traffic list’ .Coastal Radio Traffic Lists Example on Channel 16: ALL STATIONS. ALL STATIONS THIS IS TOFINO COAST GUARD RADIO (repeated up to 3 times) FOR TRAFFIC LIST. ALL STATIONS. LISTEN (SWITCH TO) CHANNEL 26 TOFINO COAST GUARD RADIO OUT .Who transmits traffic lists? .

or. by saying STAND BY followed by the estimated number of minutes until your reply.2 Responding to initial call (a) address the station.g. MARLIN DL2352.Do not ignore the call e. .1. (b) identify your own station).2. THIS IS RIJEKA RADIO GO AHEAD OVER Replying to Calls when Information Is Missing .if you are occupied.You can advise the calling station to proceed with the message by means of the words GO AHEAD. and (c) finish your turn by saying OVER. . .if the identity of the calling station is uncertain: STATION CALLING SPLIT RADIO SAY AGAIN OVER .

1. HR5432. SWITCH TO (VHF CHANNEL) 2 – 5 OVER Responding Station ALGECIRAS RADIO.5 OVER . HR5432. AGREE VHF CHANNEL 2 . THIS IS PULA. HR5432. THIS IS PULA.2. THIS IS ALGECIRAS RADIO.5 OVER or ALGECIRAS RADIO.3 Switching to a Working Channel SWITCH TO (VHF CHANNEL) … Other phrases commonly used are: CHANGE TO … GO TO … Examples: Calling Station PULA. AGREE: SWITCHING TO VHF CHANNEL 2 .

8. HR5432. HR5432. VHF CHANNEL AVAILABLE: 2 – 4. THIS IS PULA.If the suggested channel is not available use the phrase: VHF CHANNEL … UNABLE. THIS IS PULA. the other station may ask the following: QUESTION: WHICH VHF CHANNEL? . VHF CHANNELS AVAILABLE: 2 – 4 THROUGH 2 . OVER or ALGECIRAS RADIO. OVER If the VHF channel has not been specified by the Controlling Station. and then suggest another channel: VHF CHANNELS AVAILABLE: … or VHF CHANNELS AVAILABLE: … THROUGH … Example: ALGECIRAS RADIO.

Say that you can speak on channnels from 09 to 15 Marlin RTU5 says that her Rijeka radio asks which channel is channel available is 17 available 2 Dubai Radio. 18 Rostock Radio suggests Ch.Pair work CALLING STATION RESPONDING STATION 1 Rijeka Radio. 11 «Codfish» LPUJ says that her channel available is 17 «Codfish» LPUJ repeats that her channel available is 17 3 Santiago Radio. «Marlin» RTU5 agrees to change to 24 Ch. Say that you can communicate on channnels from 12 to 20 Dubai radio asks which channel is available Dubai Radio agrees «Seawolf» MZGR agrees to change to Ch. «Seawolf» MZGR agrees to change 14 to Ch. 14 . suggests Ch.3 – AGREEING TO THE WORKING CHANNEL Exercise 2.MARCOM 2. Your VHF channel 19 is not in 19 operation. 11 Your VHF channel 22 is not in oparation. 11 Perth Radio suggests Ch. 24 Rijeka Radio. suggests Ch. Say that you can communicate on channnels from 12 to 20 «Seawolf» MZGR says that Perth Radio asks which channel is her channel available is 23 available «Codfish» LPUJ repeats Perth Radio agrees that her channel available is 23 Perth Radio suggests Ch. 18 Your VHF channel 11 is not in oparation. suggests Ch.2 Role play . suggests Ch. 22 «Codfish» LPUJ agrees to change to Ch.

3 – EXCHANGE MESSAGES .MARCOM 2.

4 – CLOSING EXCHANGES .MARCOM 2.

-. Have a good watch.unable.3 Message Checks In the course of VHF exchanges it is often necessary to check mutual understanding.Please spell . i. if the other station follows the conversation.VHF channel -.-.e. 1.How do you read? .Thank you .Please use SMCP 2001 . or when we have made a mistake during the transmission. . This is done by the use of the following SMCP phrases: UNDERSTOOD: MISTAKE … CORRECTION STAY ON NOTHING MORE SAY AGAIN READ BACK .OTHER A station may say Nothing more before ending a transmission.minutes. END PROCEDURE: Closing exchanges: Thank you for your cooperation.4.Wait -. if it has no further messages to transmit.Sorry . etc. . What will it say if it does wish to pass on further messages? (NB: Model answers are printed at the end of the Exercises to Section 2.) READABILITY MESSAGE CHECKS.

three degrees true. distance: 2 decimal 3 miles REQUEST: Please supply bunkers: quantity: 3 thousand metric tonnes WARNING RECEIVED: Buoy number: one .three comply with traffic separation degrees true to comply with traffic scheme separation scheme INTENTION: I intend to reduce INTENTION RECEIVED: You speed. End Procedure Answer to Message Marker ANSWER (INSTRUCTION RECEIVED) (ADVICE RECEIVED) (REQUEST RECEIVED) (INFORMATION RECEIVED) (WARNING RECEIVED) (INTENTION RECEIVED) .two .INSTRUCTION RECEIVED: I two . new speed: eight knots For further information on message exchanges. Exchange of Messages In the message exchange procedure the following message markers (i.five unlit ADVICE RECEIVED: I shall anchor clear of fairway INFORMATION RECEIVED: The fairway entrance is: position: bearing 1-3-7 degrees true from North Point Lighthouse. berthing and unberthing. etc. words introducing the content and purpose of the message) are: Message Marker QUESTION INSTRUCTION ADVICE REQUEST INFORMATION WARNING INTENTION Examples: ANSWER: QUESTION: I intend What to are alter your course to intentions? WARNING: Buoy number: one five unlit ADVICE: You must anchor clear of fairway INFORMATION: The fairway entrance is: position: bearing 1-3-7 degrees true from North Point Lighthouse. distance: 2 decimal 3 miles REQUEST RECEIVED: Supply bunkers: quantity: 3 thousand metric tonnes INSTRUCTION: Steer course two .2. e.g. new speed: eight knots intend to reduce speed. 3.e. communications on arrival at a port. see units 18-23. reason: to shall steer course two .

e. and by adding a polite greeting: HAVE A GOOD WATCH HAVE PLEASANT VOYAGE TO Finally.g. Over. This is Seaside VTS. Your message understood. SMNV 1977/1985 and SMCP 1997. This is Aries. Over and out. Thank you. the closing phrase OUT or OVER AND OUT is used. Thank you. Nothing more. RESPONDING STATION Aries. by confirming the previous turn: UNDERSTOOD or by saying: NOTHING MORE or GOING BACK TO CHANNEL ONE SIX or I'LL GIVE YOU A CALL BACK WHEN ON BUOY DELTA ONE TWO. For further information and practising maritime VHF communications see SEASPEAK 1985.In the end procedure the conversation is terminated. . Have a good watch.: CALLING STATION Seaside VTS. Have a pleasant voyage to Ceuta.

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