VHF Marine Radio Network


By 2020, Surf Life Saving NT aims to achieve ‘Zero preventable deaths in NT coastal waters’ by extending our lifesaving coverage to match community needs.

With this aspirational vision in mind, SLSNT approached the NT Government with a proposal to install a Northern Territory Interagency VHF Marine Public Safety Radio Network (VHF Marine Radio Network) that will provide Channel 16/67 coverage to greatly enhance the safety for all recreational boat users on Darwin waters.

Community Consultation

SLSNT wants to engage with the community to understand what the community needs from a VHF Marine Public Safety Radio Network in the Northern Territory. The information that SLSNT wants to better understand is:

  • What communication equipment is currently being carried by recreational boaters in the NT?
  • What current VHF Marine channels/services are being used by recreational boaters in the NT?
  • What coastal areas do you visit that require Marine Radio Coverage?
  • What is your service expectation from a public safety radio network?
  • Are you willing to undertake education to operate a Marine VHF Radio?

Whilst you may of missed one of our Community Consultation Sessions to explain what we are proposing the Public Survey is still open, and doesnt close until 1 December 2016.

Would you like to have input into the development of this network - please complete our online survey by clicking here.

Benefits of VHF Marine Radio Network

Providing emergency responders and distressed vessels the ability to remain in contact at all times so updates can be provided in case a situation changes.

Providing recreational boat users an alternate method of communication to request assistance in non-life threatening situations such as running out of fuel or breaking down that does not require a fully-fledged emergency response.

Acting as an additional method of communication in life-threatening situations with the ability to decrease response times as

  • It takes significant time to task an emergency response following activation of an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) and in some situations this time can be the difference between life and death,
  • Mayday calls would be received by a local monitoring station that could ensure immediate tasking of emergency responders, and
  • Other vessels in immediate area may be able to provide direct assistance.

Review (and NT Government Support)

To ensure the project meets community needs, SLSNT will conduct a Northern Territory Interagency VHF Marine Public Safety Radio Network Review (Review) to develop an effective, evidence based 3-year strategy for the VHF Marine Radio Network, resulting in improved service delivery and support to stakeholders and the public. The Review will also consider existing infrastructure as well as alternate methods of communication that are available to boat users in an emergency.

The NT Government is supporting SLSNT to conduct the Review, which will provide a clear and comprehensive outline on the infrastructure needed, staging of the project, ongoing maintenance required and most importantly the cost to create an effective VHF Marine Radio Network. The Review will also investigate the ideal model to ensure effective monitoring of the installed network.

SLSNT recognises that installation of a VHF Marine Radio Network will affect a number of NT organisations, not just ours, and has begun identifying and engaging key external stakeholders. An integral part of the Review is the creation of the VHF Marine Public Safety Radio Network Interagency Advisory Group, where key stakeholders will be invited to join SLSNT staff to provide the operational and technical expertise and guidance needed to complete the Review.

More Information

We have created a Mailchimp Public Consultation subscription for members of the public to register their interest in the VHF Marine Radio Network.

Would you like to have input into the development of this network - please complete our online survey by clicking here.


Review Terms of Reference
Joint SLSNT & Government Media Release
Community Consultation Flyer