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9 Rules for Radio Communication on the Great Lakes


Radio communication is an important tool for sailors when entering a harbor to dock their sailboat. Proper radio communication etiquette is essential to ensure the safety and smooth operation of the harbor. Here are some key things to keep in mind when using radio communication while entering a harbor:


1. Use proper channels:

Different harbors may have different designated radio channels for communication. Make sure you know the proper channel to use and switch to it before making any transmissions.


2. Identify yourself:

Always begin your transmission by identifying yourself and your vessel. This includes the name of your boat and the name of the skipper or person in charge.


3. Speak clearly:

Speak clearly and distinctly when making transmissions. Avoid using slang or jargon that may be difficult for others to understand.


4. Be concise:

Keep your transmissions short and to the point. Avoid unnecessary chatter and only provide the information that is necessary for safe navigation and operation of the harbor.


5. Listen before transmitting:

Always listen to the radio before making a transmission. This will help you avoid interrupting other transmissions and ensure that you have the most current information.


6. Follow instructions:

When receiving instructions from the harbor master or other officials, be sure to follow them exactly as they are given. If you do not understand an instruction, ask for clarification.


7. Use proper terminology:

When communicating with other boats, use proper nautical terms such as "port" and "starboard" instead of "left" and "right".


8. Avoid unnecessary transmissions:

In crowded harbors, radio transmissions can become congested. Avoid unnecessary transmissions and only use the radio when it is absolutely necessary.


9. Be courteous:

Last but not least, remember to be courteous and respectful when communicating with other boats and harbor officials. Avoid using profanity or making derogatory comments.


By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your radio communication is clear, effective, and courteous. Remember, proper radio communication etiquette is essential for the safety and smooth operation of the harbor.

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