National Coastwatch Institution’s dedicated VHF channel

Channel 65 is the National Coastwatch Institution (NCI) dedicated VHF channel. NCI Public Relations Officer, Tom Scrimgeou explains more…

“Each of our 60 NCI Stations around the coast of England and Wales has a dedicated VHF radio tuned to Channel 65 and can be contacted by using the call sign for the nearest station – the correct call sign for an NCI station is its name followed by NCI.  For example, ‘Gosport NCI’. Generic calls to ‘NCI’ or ‘National Coastwatch’ may get responses from several stations.  This is a Duplex channel so you will not be able to hear other vessels calling in on it.  The majority of our watchkeepers are VHF SRC qualified.

“Why does NCI use Channel 65? Our NCI stations can respond to radio checks, provide actual weather at their location and re-broadcast the current Inshore Waters Forecast on request, but not the National Shipping Forecast.  Suitably equipped Lookouts can also check whether a vessel’s AIS transponder is functioning.

“But why should leisure vessels use Channel 65? Use it as an alternative to Channel 16 for routine checks – it relieves the burden of calls to HMCG. Use it for up-to-date local weather reports – our watchkeepers will tell you what they see directly outside their stations. Use it for your safety to ensure your AIS transponder is working.

“However, please note Channel 65 is not a replacement for Channel 16, and any calls to NCI on Channel 16 should be picked up by the Coastguard. In an emergency, if a vessel contacts NCI with a problem, the watchkeeper will continue to communicate with it on Channel 65 then immediately inform the Coastguard by landline and relay their (HMCG) instructions.”

It’s good to talk – use Channel 65!!

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