Marine VHF coverage in Gulf St Vincent and Encounter Bay

A guide by Peter Carter, 2018

Several VMR organisations monitor Marine VHF in local waters:

SA Sea Rescue Squadron
Sea Rescue Adelaide (SRA): Daily 07:00–19:00
Sea Rescue Wirrina: Weekends and public holidays, with weekday contact through SR Myponga or Normanville
Sea Rescue Edithburgh: Weekends and public holidays
After hours (by arrangement): Fulham, Hallett Cove, Richmond

Aus Volunteer Coast Guard (AVCG)
CG North Haven: Weekends and public holidays
CG Ardrossan: Daily 24 hours
VMR American River: Daily 24 hours
The latter two cover for each other. If both are out, CG Operations may respond.

Victor Harbor–Goolwa Sea Rescue (VHGSR)
Hours not stated

All monitor Channel 16, with Ch 73 as the working channel. VHGSR monitors the Ch 83 repeater, all others the Ch 80 repeater.

Along the metropolitan coast, Grange marks the ‘border’ between AVCG and SRA coverage.

For a full listing, see pp 162–165 of the tide book, which has coverage maps pp 166–167. For more detailed coverage maps, see https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/boating-and-marine/marine-radio/vhf-marine-radio-coverage

Bear in mind that close in to cliffs, and with only 5W output, you may not be able make contact with these bases on Ch 16 or the Ch 80 repeater. Move out to sea or relay through another station.

Coast Radio Adelaide (CRA)
The CRA system is based on 14 Government Radio Network towers and gives coverage along the entire coast, Lower Murray Lakes and Coorong. It monitors Ch 16 and its working channel Ch 67 24 hours a day: 07:00–19:00 by SRA at West Beach, 19:00–07:00 by Flinders Ports at Outer Harbor. It is also monitored by Police Water Operations.

CRA is for emergencies only: it will not normally accept routine traffic.

There have been cases where vessels to the east of Backstairs Passage have called SRA on Ch 16 but have been beyond the range of SRA. They can be heard by CRA through the KI-East tower, and the CRA operator may suggest contact via Ch 80. If that is not possible, the CRA operator my act as SRA through the CRA system.