A variety of communications equipment can be used on the water - make sure you carry at least two that will work when wet.

On this page:

Communications equipment is an essential part of safe boating

There are different types of communications equipment but each is built for specific conditions, uses and areas.

Different types of communications equipment work in different areas, so make sure the equipment you have will work where you are boating.

You should carry at least two types that will work when wet.

Your guide to communication

A helpful resource and a must for every skipper.

In this handbook:

learn the correct procedures for communicating

find information about coverage and services

find useful contacts and a glossary

two stickers for quick reference

Request print copy Download as PDF

How to call for help

In an emergency

1.Wear your lifejackets

2.Activate your distress beacon

3.Switch radio to full power

Call 111 Radio a MAYDAY call

There are also low-tech ways of getting attention. You can use or do any of the following:

  • a horn to make noise
  • a torch to wave, flash or signal SOS
  • a red flag
  • your arms - raising and lowering your arms is recognised internationally as a distress signal
Related information:
Get a quick visual guide for your vessel.

VHF channels

This sticker lists the major VHF channels.

[PDF: 110KB, 1 page]

Learn the essential skills for your boating activities.

Boating courses

Coastguard offers a range of courses for kayakers, skippers, radio operators and more.

See all courses