USCG warns mariners about VHF radio outages

The U.S. Coast Guard has experienced various very high frequency (VHF) outages in Southeast and Southcentral Alaska throughout the summer and into the winter, the Coast Guard announced in a press release on Dec. 16.

Extra caution is advised in the areas of Shelikof Strait, Southern Cook Inlet and offshore Southeast Alaska. The Coast Guards said Repairs are ongoing, but due to extreme weather and remote locations, intermittent outages are expected to continue in various locations in both Southeast and Southcentral Alaska.

“Mariners are reminded that due to mountainous terrain, and limited VHF coverage, even with fully operational VHF sites, the USCG cannot hear VHF calls in all areas, and mariners should have secondary means on communications onboard at all times, file a float plan with a trusted person, and carry safety equipment onboard in the event you are in a survival situation,” said USCG Commander Lyle Kessler, District 17, external affairs in Juneau.

Mariners can use these phone numbers to contact the Coast Guard in an emergency:

• Sector Juneau Command Center, 907-463-2980

• Sector Anchorage Command Center, 907-428-4100

• 17th District command center, 907-463-2000

The Coast Guard said mariners should carefully evaluate their ability to assist distressed mariners, and always relay any heard distress calls to the US Coast Guard.