Your guide to Boating, Diving, Fishing, Gear, Sailing, Watersports, and More!
Home • Articles • Books • Directory • News

Search for:        

U.S. VHF Marine Radio Channels and Frequencies

Channel Number Ship Transmit
Ship Receive


01A 156.050 156.050 Port Operations and Commercial. VTS in selected areas.
05A 156.250 156.250 Port Operations. VTS in selected areas.
06 156.300 156.300 Intership Safety
07A 156.350 156.350 Commercial
08 156.400 156.400 Commercial (Intership only)
09 156.450 156.450 Boater Calling.  Commercial and Non-Commercial.
10 156.500 156.500 Commercial
11 156.550 156.550 Commercial.  VTS in selected areas.
12 156.600 156.600 Port Operations.  VTS in selected areas.
13 156.650 156.650 Intership Navigation Safety (Bridge-to-bridge).  Ships >20m length maintain a listening watch on this channel in US waters.
14 156.700 156.700 Port Operations.  VTS in selected areas.
15 -- 156.750 Environmental (Receive only).  Used by Class C EPIRBs.
16 156.800 156.800 International Distress, Safety and Calling.  Ships required to carry radio, USCG, and most coast stations maintain a listening watch on this channel.
17 156.850 156.850 State Control
18A 156.900 156.900 Commercial
19A 156.950 156.950 Commercial
20 157.000 161.600 Port Operations (duplex)
20A 157.000 157.000 Port Operations
21A 157.050 157.050 U.S. Coast Guard only
22A 157.100 157.100 Coast Guard Liaison and Maritime Safety Information Broadcasts.   Broadcasts announced on channel 16.
23A 157.150 157.150 U.S. Coast Guard only
24 157.200 161.800 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
25 157.250 161.850 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
26 157.300 161.900 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
27 157.350 161.950 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
28 157.400 162.000 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
63A 156.175 156.175 Port Operations and Commercial. VTS in selected areas.
65A 156.275 156.275 Port Operations
66A 156.325 156.325 Port Operations
67 156.375 156.375 Commercial.  Used for Bridge-to-bridge communications in lower Mississippi River.  Intership only.
68 156.425 156.425 Non-Commercial
69 156.475  156.475 Non-Commercial
70 156.525 156.525 Digital Selective Calling (voice communications not allowed)
71 156.575 156.575  Non-Commercial
72 156.625 156.625 Non-Commercial (Intership only)
73 156.675 156.675 Port Operations
74 156.725 156.725 Port Operations
77 156.875 156.875 Port Operations (Intership only)
78A 156.925 156.925 Non-Commercial
79A 156.975 156.975 Commercial.  Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only
80A 157.025 157.025 Commercial.  Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only
81A 157.075 157.075 U.S. Government only - Environmental protection operations.
82A 157.125 157.125 U.S. Government only
83A 157.175 157.175 U.S. Coast Guard only
84 157.225 161.825 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
85 157.275 161.875 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
86 157.325 161.925 Public Correspondence (Marine Operator)
87 157.375 161.975 Automatic Identification System duplex repeater
AIS 1 161.975 161.975 Automatic Identification System (AIS)
AIS 2 162.025 162.025 Automatic Identification System (AIS)
88 157.425 162.025 Public Correspondence only near Canadian border.
88A 157.425 157.425 Commercial, Intership only.

Data from the U.S. Coast Guard Maritime Telecommunications Information

NOAA Weather Radio Frequencies, in MHz






















See the NOAA Weather Radio Homepage for more information.

Frequencies are in MHz. Modulation is 16KF3E or 16KG3E.

NOTE: USCG District 1 (Northeast US) is now reserving Channel 16 for Distress and International Hailing only. Channel 9 is now the recommended hailing channel. Once contact is made on a hailing frequency, boaters should switch to a working frequency to engage in conversation. This practice should keep the hailing frequencies relatively clear of "idle chatter".

Note that the letter "A" indicates simplex use of the ship station transmit side of an international duplex channel, and that operations are different than international operations on that channel. Some VHF transceivers are equipped with an "International - U.S." switch for that purpose. "A" channels are generally only used in the United States, and use is normally not recognized or allowed outside the U.S. The letter "B" indicates simplex use of the coast station transmit side of an international duplex channel. The U.S. does not currently use "B" channels for simplex communications in this band.

Boaters should normally use channels listed as Non-Commercial. Channel 16 is used for calling other stations or for distress alerting. Channel 13 should be used to contact a ship when there is danger of collision. All ships of length 20m or greater are required to guard VHF channel 13, in addition to VHF channel 16, when operating within U.S. territorial waters. Users may be fined by the FCC for improper use of these channels.

The chart below summarizes a portion of the FCC rules -- 47 CFR 80.371(c) and 80.373(f)
Data from the Federal Communications Commission - Marine Service Division
Type of Message Appropriate channel(s)
DISTRESS SAFETY AND CALLING - Use this channel to get the attention of another station (calling) or in emergencies (distress and safety). 16
INTERSHIP SAFETY - Use this channel for ship-to-ship safety messages and for search and rescue messages and ships and aircraft of the Coast Guard. 6
COAST GUARD LIAISON - Use this channel to talk to the Coast Guard (but first make contact on Channel 16). 22
NONCOMMERCIAL - Working channels for voluntary boats. Messages must be about the needs of the ship. Typical uses include fishing reports, rendezvous,scheduling repairs and berthing information. Use Channels 67 and 72 only for ship-to-ship messages. 9(fn6), 68, 69, 71, 72, 78,
79(fn4), 80(fn4), 67(fn7).
COMMERCIAL - Working channels for working ships only. Messages must be about business or the needs of the ship. Use channels 8, 67, 72 and 88 only for ship-to-ship messages. 1(fn5), 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 18,
19, 63(fn5), 67, 72(fn7),
79, 80, 88(fn1)
PUBLIC CORRESPONDENCE (MARINE OPERATOR) - Use these channels to call the marine operator at a public coast station. By contacting a public coast station, you can make and receive calls from telephones on shore. Except for distress calls, public coast stations usually charge for this service. 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 84, 85,
86, 87, 88(fn2)
PORT OPERATIONS - These channels are used in directing the movement of ships in or near ports, locks or waterways. Messages must be about the operational handling movement and safety of ships. In certain major ports, Channels 11,12 and are not available for general port operations messages. Use channel 20 only for ship-to-coast messages. Channel 77 is limited to intership communications to and from pilots 1(fn5), 5(fn3), 12, 14, 20,
63(fn5), 65, 66, 73, 74, 77
NAVIGATIONAL - (Also known as the bridge-to-bridge channel.) This channel is available to all ships. Messages must be about ship navigation, for example, passing or meeting other ships. You must keep your messages short. Your power output must not be more than one watt. This is also the main working channel at most locks and drawbridges. 13, 67
MARITIME CONTROL - This channel may be used to talk to ships and coast stations operated by state or local governments. Messages must pertain to regulation and control, boating activities, or assistance to ships. 17
DIGITAL SELECTIVE CALLING - Use this channel for distress and safety calling and for general purpose calling using only digital selective calling techniques. 70
WEATHER - On these channels you may receive weather broadcasts of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. These channels are only for receiving. You cannot transmit on them. Wx-1 162.55
Wx-2 162.4
Wx-3 162.475
    Footnotes to table
  1. Not available in the Great Lakes, St. Lawrence Seaway, or the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and its approaches.
  2. Only for use In the Great Lakes, St Lawrence Seaway, and Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de fuca and its approaches.
  3. Available only In the Houston and New Orleans areas.
  4. Available only in the Great Lakes.
  5. Available only In the New Orleans area.
  6. Available for Intership, ship, and coast general purpose calling by noncommercial ships.
  7. Available only In the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

 Sailing Scuttlebutt
 World on Water Video
 Learning Center


home | about | contact | advertising | privacy | link to us

Copyright © All rights reserved.