This handbook is intended for the guidance of radio operators:
- on Australian vessels which are compulsorily fitted with marine radiotelephony, marine radiotelephony with digital selective calling capability, and/or Inmarsat satellite communications, in accordance with State or Territory government legislation; or
- on Australian vessels which are voluntarily fitted with marine radiotelephony, marine radiotelephony with digital selective calling capability, and/or Inmarsat satellite communications; or
- at limited coast stations, particularly those operated by marine rescue organisations.
It is the recommended textbook for candidates undertaking examination for the Long Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (LROCP), the Short Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (SROCP), and the Marine Satellite Communications Endorsement.
Procedures and requirements outlined in the handbook are based on the International Radio Regulations formulated by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), on provisions governing the use of radio transmitters in Australia laid down in the Radiocommunications Act 1992, and on radiocommunications station licence conditions set by Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Careful observance of the procedures covered by this handbook is essential for the efficient exchange of communications in the marine radiocommunications service, particularly when the safety of life at sea is concerned. Special attention should be given to those sections dealing with distress, urgency and safety.
It should be noted that no provision of this handbook, the International Radio Regulations, or the Radiocommunications Act 1992, prevents the use by a vessel in distress of any means at its disposal to attract attention, make known its position and obtain help.
Similarly, no provision of this handbook, the International Radio Regulations, or the Radiocommunications Act 1992, prevents the use by vessels engaged in search and rescue operations of any means at their disposal to assist a vessel in distress.
This edition of the Marine Radio Operators Handbook reflects the new arrangements for maritime communication stations from 1 July 2002. These arrangements include substantial changes to the frequencies monitored by these stations for distress and safety, and changed requirements for ships wishing to participate in the AUSREP reporting system.
It also contains information about the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) marine communications techniques which are available for use by small vessels in Australia. The system uses advanced technology and automation to ensure that search and rescue authorities, as well as ships in the vicinity of an emergency, are alerted reliably and rapidly. Both satellite and terrestrial communications form essential components of the GMDSS.
The Australian Maritime College acknowledges the contribution of ACMA, Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the Bureau of Meteorology, Telstra, and the Governments of the States and the Northern Territory in the preparation of this Handbook.