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Water Police Reminder: Do not misuse CH-16 VHF marine radio

Water Police Reminder: Do not misuse CH-16 VHF marine radio

On the afternoon and evening of the 2nd of January 2019, a male person was heard broadcasting on Channel 16, VHF marine radio in an improper manner.   Channel 16 is a designated emergency frequency primarily for calling, distress, urgency and safety priority calls between ships and coastal radio stations.

The broadcasts contained vulgar and offensive language, insults and targeted marine rescue volunteers conducting listening watches between the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast.  At times the male person was rambling, and his transmissions were repetitive and unintelligible.  The male person was politely requested to keep the emergency channel clear and desist from transmitting further broadcasts.  The male person continued his reckless and belligerent conduct for hours during which time water police and volunteer organisations were following up on a search and rescue incident involving a genuine ‘mayday’ call.  The actions of the male caused substantial interference and disruption of the emergency frequency by recklessly occupying the frequency without reason and potentially putting lives at risk.

Water Police Brisbane subsequently conducted an investigation which resulted in a 41-year old male from Manly being taken into custody.  The male was issued a notice to appear in relation to unlicensed operation of a radio-communication device and recklessly causing interference with radio-communications.

Water police would like to remind recreational boaties that all broadcasts on the emergency frequencies are recorded and there are serious penalties for misuse.   The Australian Communication and Media Authority website contains information on correct marine radio protocols and how and where to obtain a marine radio licence.

If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.

You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via 24hrs per day.

Quote this reference number: QP1900035203


By Senior Constable Gene Hill



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