Solent VHF Channel Usage

Proper use of the VHF channels is an important safety factor. Channel usage in the Solent and Southampton Water has some differences from that in other areas so we have compiled this guide.  VHF call signs are indicated as e.g. Stone Point NCI”

N.B. Ensure that your VHF is set to “INT(ernational)” not “US(a)”! Radios operating on USA channel settings will not hear the reply from an NCI Station (on ch.65), from a Marina (on ch.80), or receive the Coastguard Marine Safety Information channels (ch.62,63,64). New radios are sometimes set to “US” when bought; use the radio internal menus to reset them to “INT”.

ChannelDup*Usage and “Call Signs”
Solent Coastguard
16Distress… MayDay, pan-pan and securité Solent Coastguard
67HMCG routine traffic (Solent area only) Solent Coastguard
62,63,64yes*Marine Safety Information (MSI) Broadcasts by HMCG
National Coastwatch
65yes*Call direct for radio checks, local conditions and info, etc. Call signs:
Gosport NCI, “Bembridge NCI “,Lee NCI,“Calshot NCI “, Stone Point NCI, Needles NCI, Hengistbury Head NCI, Swanage NCI
Boat to Boat
16Initial calling channel – switch immediately to a working channel
06,72,77Boat to Boat working channels
08working channel (but reserved for tugs within Southampton Port)
80yes*calling a nearby marina (N.B. duplex)
Port Operations
11Kings Harbour Master, Portsmouth KHM
12Southampton port: Southampton VTS, Southampton Patrol also emergency ship to ship for collision avoidance within Southampton Port
09,10,71,74Ship to Ship working channels (NOT for use by leisure craft)
Harbour Masters
66Lymington Harbour
68Hamble Harbour Radio, Hamble Patrol, Yarmouth Harbour, Beaulieu River RadioBeaulieu River Patrol
69Cowes Harbour Radio

* N.B. in order to receive calls on duplex channels your radio must be correctly set to International channels (“INT”). Vessel radios on North American settings (“US”) will be heard by the shore station but the vessel will not hear the reply.