This notice is for all owners and operators of maritime VHF radios.
The 2020 edition of the ITU Radio Regulations (RR) established revised frequencies and channeling arrangements for the maritime VHF bands contained in Appendix 18 of the RR. This notice provides guidance to all VHF owners and operators on the new channeling arrangements and their requirements.
The changes introduce a number of 4-digit VHF channels. Existing 2-digit international simplex channels remain unchanged.
These changes do not affect existing maritime distress frequencies or the bridge-to-bridge communications channel.
The IMO has issued the following guidance for the new VHF channeling arrangements. The Ship Registry does not consider these recommendations mandatory at this time.
Prior to 01/01/2024, operators should continue to provide at least the channeling arrangements listed in Appendix 18 of the 2009 RR; other channels may be provided if they are permitted by the 2020 RR.
By the first radio survey after 01/01/2024, all vessels using VHF radio should meet the channeling arrangements reflected in Appendix 18 of the RR.
A 4-digit channel VHF radio may be required to interact with coastal stations that have adopted these frequencies. Prior to any voyage, it is the responsibility of the radio operator or owner to review channel frequencies for the vessel's area of operation and ensure that the radio communications equipment is suitable. This may require a software update or replacement of the equipment.
Where a frequency is required by regulations but the channel is no longer correct, a cross-reference table must be kept at the operating station. Operators should review the latest publication from the Admiralty List of Radio Signals or ITU List IV to understand if any changes have been made to their area of operation.