You are sailing on a boat and find youself in a distress or in an emergency situation such as your boat capsizing or sinking. What are you going to do? I bet some of you will just get their mobile phones out and ring for help. But a mobile phone is not the right solution for raising the alarm at sea. It is not always easy to find a signal at sea, or not have sufficient battery life when you are in danger or in an emergency situation. And anyway, rescuers cannot pinpoint your position based on using a mobile. These are the risks and dangers of just relying on a mobile phone.
It's only when you are in an emergency that wished you had attended a course obtaining some basic knowledge of the different types of equipment on board the boat to enable you to communicate with others when requiring help at sea. At least by attending this course, you will get the basic understanding of such equipment.
GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System) will provide alerts when a distress or emergency situation arises at sea. A search and rescue operation will involve centres ashore and vessels in the vicinity, that assistance is required. There are many types of equipment used for communications purposes and these will be discussed in this course.
The equipment, its carriage requirements and its usage are integral elements of GMDSS, which itself is an important part of the IMO (International Maritime Organisation) SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) convention. The SOLAS convention is a key element of maritime communications. The main objective of GMDSS is to maximise safety at sea resulting in lowering the loss of human lives and material damage.Regulations on maritime communications were introduced just after the well known RMS Titanic disaster. The RMS Titanic sank on her maiden voyage after a collision with an iceberg. Only 700 odd people were saved, thanks mainly to the efforts of the Titanic's two Radio Officers, who managed to summon help from nearby vessels. However, some 1500 people were killed because the vessel closest to the disaster (the Leyland liner Californian) could not be summoned, as her Radio Officer had just gone off watch after 12 hours on duty.
The equipment carriage requirements for all SOLAS vessels at sea depends on the GMDSS Sea Area in which they operate. Most probably, you are sailing within GMDSS Sea Area A1 in range of VHF (Very High Frequency) DSC (Digital Selective Calling) from a CRS (Coast Radio Station), so will be up to 30 NM from the coast and will most probably have fitted on board a marine VHF radio and perhaps even a SART, EPIRB and NAVTEX receiver. On non SOLAS vessels it is not a legal requirement to have such equipment, but when your life is at stake it might be better to be have it than not.
This course enables you to prepare for the examination for SRC (Short Range Certificate) which you have to apply for at the appropriate examination authority in your country.
M.sc. Tomaž Gregorič
EGMDSS project manager