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  1. #8
    Senior Member ReelJerks's Avatar
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    Re: Question about VHF radio and medical emergency

    An exceptional feature and should be on every boat in navigable waters. But let's not forget the VHF/DSC is 'line of sight' transmission, and during the best of conditions that limits us to about 25 miles of communication. Let's use the OP's example of Lake Pardee and ask ourselves; 'Do I get 25 miles of line of site there?'. IMHO there is only one 'best' method of summoning emergency assistance while at the lake......SAT phone. Data plans have come down in price and you can buy smaller data packages. With a SAT phone you can get first hand medical advice that just might save a life until the pros arrive. The SAT phone is only necessary on lakes where cell service is not available.

    Edd
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  3. #7
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    Re: Question about VHF radio and medical emergency

    I was looking around the internet and found this write up.

    DSC is one of the best deals in town. Setting up your VHF radio with digital selective calling is simple, and it could save your life.


    If you've bought a VHF radio in the last few years, chances are it has a red distress button on the front. Lift the flap, press and hold the button for five seconds, and details of your vessel, your position, and the fact that you require urgent and immediate assistance are broadcast to the U.S. Coast Guardand anyone else with a DSC-equipped radio within range. The beauty of the system is that it should summon assistance even if you're unable to speak.

    Never press the transmit key on the mic without a connected antenna or you could damage the radio.
    When you consider that a DSC-equipped VHF can be had for about $150 and is arguably the single most important piece of safety equipment that you can have aboard,it sounds like a bargain. However, according to recently published Coast Guardfigures, almost 90 percent of DSC-capable radios aren't programmed, making that little red distress button completely useless. Here's what you need to do.
    Techno Two-Step
    Two things need to happen for a DSC-VHF radio to work properly. First, it has to beconnected to a GPS; second, the radio needs to be programmed with an MMSI number. MMSI stands for Maritime Mobile Service Identity and refers to the unique number assigned to a particular boat. Connecting your VHF to your chartplotter provides your coordinates to the radio so they can be transmittedin an emergency. With no GPS hooked up, the position of the boat must be triangulated from the transmission by multiple shore stations, reducing accuracy. Connecting the VHF to a GPS — such as a chartplotter — isn't difficult, but you must follow the instructions that came with your VHF and GPS to ensure compatibility. This is where many boaters become frustrated. In reality, it's often a matter of just connecting a couple of small wires.However, if you're shopping for a new VHF, manufacturers now offer VHF sets with GPS built in, eliminating the need to connect a GPS.
    Some modern VHF sets now have GPS built in which makes set up easy.
    Once the connections have been made, the next step is to program the MMSI number into the VHF. An MMSI is a nine-digit number unique to the vessel, not to the radio. If there's more than one radio aboard, they must all be programmed with the same MMSI number. Obtaining an MMSI number is easy and can be done online. BoatUS members can geta number for domestic use free of charge by answering a few simple questions. If your plans include travels to foreign ports (including Mexico, the Bahamas, and, yes, Canada), you'll need to get a Ship Station license and MMSIfrom the FCC.

    Watch a helpful video from the BoatUS Foundation on setting up and usinga DSC radio.
    Entering the number into the VHF is fairly straightforward, although the specifics of how this is accomplished vary by make. Follow the instructions that came with the VHF to the letter. In many cases, if a number is entered incorrectly, it can't be changed without returning the VHF to the manufacturer. Check and double check that the number you entered on the VHF display is identical to your assigned MMSI before pressing the confirm button.
    That's it — job done! Your VHF has just become a powerful tool to summon help in an emergency.
    Last edited by Fishfinder; 02-05-2019 at 11:08 PM.

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  5. #6
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    Re: Question about VHF radio and medical emergency

    I am really interested to continue reading your blog. You have shared valid info. Waiting for more updates from you.

  6. #5
    Senior Member ReelJerks's Avatar
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    Re: Question about VHF radio and medical emergency

    Interesting thoughts on a very sobering subject. I would say the MOST counties do not have VHF aboard their boats. I know that Fresno not Madera Sheriff patrol boats have only the radios to contact their offices, and cell phones. And to go a bit further, the Pine Flat Lake 'Park Rangers' only have park radios and cells. I would say you have more lakes with cell access than you have Sheriff's boats with VHF capability.
    PLB's are an interesting option. The response procedure may be different than most know. Everything goes through NOAA satellites, and NOAA would then notify the USCG. The Coasties would then pull your call list and proceed by calling the first number on the list. If no emergency condition is noted by the first contact, they would proceed down the list. If one of your contacts tells the USCG that yes, you are fishing with a friend who has a know heart condition, they would continue from their. They may respond or may call an agency closer to your local.

    Edd
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  8. #4
    Senior Member brokea--boater's Avatar
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    Re: Question about VHF radio and medical emergency

    Most local Sheriff boats have VHF, and chances are there are other private boats on the more popular lakes that have VHF radios also. A private boat is usually the first to arrive to a mayday call. You could also get a PLB and wear it on your lifejacket. That's what I have for a secondary system. If you felt like you were having a medical emergency, trip it and it'll alert help to your exact location. A vhf radio is a good idea and I recommend it,,,gregg

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  10. #3
    Senior Member Seon's Avatar
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    Re: Question about VHF radio and medical emergency

    Major medical emergencies are usually time dependent on getting one rapid medical treatment/transport.

    Just my opinion, even if/when you raise the CC, they'd have to relay the mayday to a local fire station and if that station doesn't have a water vessel....well, one is SOL .

    If it's fatal, then the bright side is...one was doing what he enjoyed best.

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  12. #2
    aka sschefer
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    Re: Question about VHF radio and medical emergency

    Quote Originally Posted by Fishfinder View Post
    Years ago we had a friend have a heart attack while fishing, he didn’t make it. So my wife asked me today how the VHF radio would work on a lake out of cell phone range. Lets say Lake Pardee and a medical emergency comes up. If I use channel 16 for a MAYDAY who will respond? Or am I patched through from the marina on a landline to 911operator? I know on the Delta the CCwould respond.
    Thank You!!
    Tough question to answer because there are so many uncontrollable factors involved. I guess you could boil it down to this: If you have a cell phone and reception then use it first. If not, then use channel 9 or 16 and learn the procedures for a proper MAYDAY call.

    Beyond that, I think its best to understand that you are better off with a VHF radio aboard then you are without. Is it guaranteed to save a life, no. However, it's guaranteed not to save a life if you don't have one.

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  14. #1
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    Question about VHF radio and medical emergency

    Years ago we had a friend have a heart attack while fishing, he didn’t make it. So my wife asked me today how the VHF radio would work on a lake out of cell phone range. Lets say Lake Pardee and a medical emergency comes up. If I use channel 16 for a MAYDAY who will respond? Or am I patched through from the marina on a landline to 911operator? I know on the Delta the CCwould respond.
    Thank You!!
    Last edited by Fishfinder; 01-31-2019 at 12:06 AM.

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