The Essence of Establishing Proper Communication at Sea

Blog | September 27th, 2022

The shipbuilding industry must account for many factors when constructing ships and marine vessels before they sell them to various businesses and aspiring boat owners. Some factors include their power, resistance to elements, manoeuvring mechanisms, and safety.

But another factor the industry should integrate effectively with these things is communication.

Communication is crucial to ships as it serves as their guide when navigating the waters. Without the right communication devices and technology, it would be difficult for people controlling the marine vessel to know where they are headed. It can also be challenging for them to determine whether they are safe to pass through specific areas or not. The lack of communication can only lead to injuries and disasters that can be deadly.

A Brief History of Sea Communication

The history of the sea or marine communication starts with Claude Chappe, a French inventor who generated the semaphore communication method. This method utilised two red and yellow flags placed in specific locations of the marine vessel. These flags conveyed numbers or letters to form a message. The evolution continues as Samuel Finley Breese Morse invented a communication method that uses a series of dots and dashes in establishing messages.

By the late 19th century, marine communication then adopted Marine VHF Radio, a system often utilised for emergency sea situations. Once specific calls are established, the coastguard and other vessels needed for specific situations will be summoned. The Digital Selective Calling or DSC is subsequently invented to be a part of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System.

Current Status of Sea Communication

Today, marine vessels now heavily rely on satellite systems to communicate with others. These systems have been proven to be effective as they can relay messages significantly faster than conventional ones. These messages may even reach great distances, which cannot be carried out terrestrial alternatives.

To date, marine communication services are provided by INMARSAT (two-way communication) and COSPAS – SARSAT (emergency services). As for safe communication at sea, the set of standards and communication protocols are covered by the Global Maritime Distress Safety System. This system makes it easier for distressed ships to be rescued.

Many marine communication technologies can be utilised on sailboats. These technologies include VHF, DSC, Medium Wave Frequency Transceiver and DSC, High-Frequency Transmitter and DSC, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, Search and Rescue Radar Transponder, Satcom C, and Navtex. Some are intended for general alerts and communication, while others are for distress signals and maritime safety reports.

Top Tips to Communicate Successfully

While communication devices today already maximise advanced technologies, few things should still be done to relay the messages to the intended receiver. Establishing great communication, after all, minimises incidents, ensures safe passage of the marine vessel, and reduces the potential delay of ship arrival.

One tip that should be done is to keep messages short, concise, and direct to the point. Only maximise phrases that have been previously agreed on to avoid confusion and miscommunication. Pronunciations should likewise be done clearly.

An agreed-upon word or phrase when a message has been received and understood must then be stated and used before proceeding to minimise issues. But if the confirmation word or phrase did not come through, the initial message must be clearly stated again. Doing this avoids unnecessary accidents. For more information about safe marine communication, just contact us at Wildon Engineering.

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