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Marine Band Information

VHF Marine Band Antennas For Small Boats

Marine VHF Bands

VHF Marine Radio Service Frequency Table

This table is the frequency chart for the VHF Marine Radio Service. There are specifically designated channels for specific usage, as indicated in the chart below. Frequencies are in megahertz. Note that the letter A indicates simplex use of the ship station transmit side of an international duplex channel, and that operations are different than international operations on that channel. Some VHF transceivers are equipped with an "International - U.S." switch for that purpose. A channels are generally only used in the United States, and use is normally not recognized or allowed outside the U.S. The letter B indicates simplex use of the coast station transmit side of an international duplex channel. The U.S. does not currently use B channels for simplex communications in this band. Boaters should normally use channels listed as Non-Commercial. Channel 16 is used for calling other stations or for distress alerting. Channel 13 should be used to contact a ship when there is danger of collision. All ships of length 20m (slightly more than 65 feet) or greater are required to guard VHF channel 13, in addition to VHF channel 16, when operating within U.S. territorial waters. Some channels are available in VTS (Vessel Traffic Services) areas only. Users may be fined by the FCC for improper use of these channels. See the Federal Communications Commission's Marine VHF Radio Channels page for detailed information.

As of 2004, AIS is available in certain areas. Picture a shipboard radar display, with overlaid electronic chart data, that includes a mark for every significant ship within radio range, each as desired with a velocity vector (indicating speed and heading). Each ship "mark" could reflect the actual size of the ship, with position to GPS or differential GPS accuracy. By "clicking" on a ship mark, you could learn the ship name, course and speed, classification, call sign, registration number, MMSI, and other information. Maneuvering information, closest point of approach (CPA), time to closest point of approach (TCPA) and other navigation information, more accurate and more timely than information available from an automatic radar plotting aid, could also be available. Display information previously available only to modern Vessel Traffic Service operations centers could now be available to every AIS-equipped ship.

With this information, you could call any ship over VHF radiotelephone by name, rather than by "ship off my port bow" or some other imprecise means. Or you could dial it up directly using GMDSS equipment. Or you could send to the ship, or receive from it, short safety-related E-Mail messages.

The AIS is a shipboard broadcast system that acts like a transponder, operating in the VHF maritime band, that is capable of handling well over 4,500 reports per minute and updates as often as every two seconds. It uses Self-Organizing Time Division Multiple Access (SOTDMA) technology to meet this high broadcast rate and ensure reliable ship-to-ship operation.

For complete NOAA weather radio information, see the NOAA home page.

Marine VHF Designated Frequencies
Channel NumberShip Transmit
Ship Receive
Intended And Designated Use
01A156.050156.050Port Operations and Commercial, VTS.  Available only in New Orleans / Lower Mississippi area.
05A156.250156.250Port Operations or VTS in the Houston, New Orleans and Seattle areas.
06156.300156.300Intership Safety
08156.400156.400Commercial (Intership only)
09156.450156.450Boater Calling.  Commercial and Non-Commercial.
11156.550156.550Commercial.  VTS in selected areas.
12156.600156.600Port Operations.  VTS in selected areas.
13156.650156.650Intership Navigation Safety (Bridge-to-bridge).  Ships >20m length maintain a listening watch on this channel in US waters.
14156.700156.700Port Operations.  VTS in selected areas.
15--156.750Environmental (Receive only).  Used by Class C EPIRBs.
16156.800156.800International Distress, Safety and Calling.  Ships required to carry radio, USCG, and most coast stations maintain a listening watch on this channel.
17156.850156.850State Control
20157.000161.600Port Operations (duplex)
20A157.000157.000Port Operations
21A157.050157.050U.S. Coast Guard only
22A157.100157.100Coast Guard Liaison and Maritime Safety Information Broadcasts.   Broadcasts announced on channel 16.
23A157.150157.150U.S. Coast Guard only
24157.200161.800Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
25157.250161.850Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
26157.300161.900Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
27157.350161.950Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
28157.400162.000Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
63A156.175156.175Port Operations and Commercial, VTS.  Available only in New Orleans / Lower Mississippi  area.
65A156.275156.275Port Operations
66A156.325156.325Port Operations
67156.375156.375Commercial.  Used for Bridge-to-bridge communications in lower Mississippi River.  Intership only.
69156.475 156.475Non-Commercial
70156.525156.525Digital Selective Calling (voice communications not allowed)
71156.575156.575 Non-Commercial
72156.625156.625Non-Commercial (Intership only)
73156.675156.675Port Operations
74156.725156.725Port Operations
77156.875156.875Port Operations (Intership only)
79A156.975156.975Commercial.  Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only
80A157.025157.025Commercial.  Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only
81A157.075157.075U.S. Government only - Environmental protection operations.
82A157.125157.125U.S. Government only
83A157.175157.175U.S. Coast Guard only
84157.225161.825Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
85157.275161.875Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
86157.325161.925Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
87157.375161.975Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
AIS 1161.975161.975Automatic Identification System #1 (AIS) - Special equipment required!
88157.425162.025Public Correspondence only near Canadian border.
AIS 2162.025162.025Automatic Identification System #2 (AIS) - Special equipment required!
88A157.425157.425Commercial, Intership only.
NOAAWeather 1WX1162.550
NOAAWeather 2WX2162.400
NOAAWeather 3WX3162.475
NOAAWeather 4WX4162.425
NOAAWeather 5WX5162.450
NOAAWeather 6WX6162.500
NOAAWeather 7WX7162.525