You are hereProject Retirement, ep 6

Project Retirement, ep 6

By Q-Bert - Posted on 12 March 2021

The one where I call out PAN PAN! (Announcing on the radio that my motor is kaput)

Turns out that communication is a cornerstone of sailing safety. Apparently, having the ability to use a radio to contact a tanker that is currently on its way to cross your course and possibly slice you in half... is a good idea.

It's also good to have a way to contact the marina that you are aiming to reach before sundown, so as to make sure they have the proper quality of beer you require in order to deal with the fact that you have a living room the size of a bucket.

Anyways, let's talk about VHF radio.

Having a VHF radio certification is a pre-requisite to taking our Intermediate Cruising certification. The prerequisite to the VHF certification is the Basic Cruising certification that I already passed this summer. Refer to the previous episode for the LOLs.

Because of COVID, I took the VHF radio course through Zoom. Its not a particularly difficult course, as you get to learn the 2 categories of radio (digital and not digital), how far your signal will reach (line of sight), the types of communications (emergency and conversational), the channels (there are less than 20), and how often to say your vessel's name (3 times). That's it really.... Yet the course was over 4 weeks. Gotta make that money somehow...

The exam was particularly difficult... inasmuch as it took 10 minutes to actually setup the Zoom call with the evaluator, and about 1 minute to actually *do* the exam. You are given a scenario and asked to pretend you are calling out on the VHF radio... without a VHF radio. My "simulation" was that my motor had quit and the current was dragging me towards some falls, but I had enough wherewithal to throw my anchor out and stop the boat before the falls, and I needed help. That's a "PANPAN" call. French readers will recognize "PAN" as the sound you make when you pretend to shoot someone with your finger gun.

I kid, I kid... "PAN" is the phonetic for "panne" in french, literally "I'm screwed"... I mean "failure".

So, I pretended to press on the push-to-talk button on my pretend VHF radio to issue out my pretend emergency call on my pretend boat that is at the end of my pretend anchor right next to the pretend falls on the pretend Ottawa river.

So, I pretended to pass that class.

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