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.

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 completed 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 supported SLSNT to conduct the Review, which provides 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 also investigated 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 engaged with key external stakeholders through out the process. An integral part of the Review was the creation of the VHF Marine Public Safety Radio Network Interagency Advisory Group, where key stakeholders where invited to join SLSNT staff to provide the operational and technical expertise and guidance needed to complete the Review.

More Information

Please contact Samantha Farrow, the Chief Executive Officer of SLSNT for more information about the contents of the review or progress with the network.
(08) 8985 6588


Review Terms of Reference

Joint SLSNT & Government Media Release