Honestly, I am surprised of the level of VHF navigation in some ports around the world. When I was studying at the maritime school it was emphasized that radio navigation is a dangerous game, and this has followed me during the years. It is not just a thing I have learned, I actually believe it is correct too. Do you remember the days when “Ship on my port side, ship on my port side…” was transmitted on the VHF more or less every day. The AIS have reduced the number of those calls but the radio navigation is still long from gone.

 

What do they learn in the navigation schools in USA for instance? Do they learn that radio navigation is a good thing to use or do they just like to talk??

 

What is the point of calling a vessel 3 nm ahead and let them know “See you on one Captain!”? Why not just follow the rules?

 

The thing is that the amount of “unnecessary” radio traffic in some ports are so high that you have to turn down the volume on the VHF in order to manage your own internal communication to be able to carry out the safe navigation of the vessel, and the risk of not hearing any calls affecting your ship is increasing because of that. It is also very common that two ships who thinks that they are talking to each other are actually talking to someone else, who think that he was the right one to answer on the radio.

 

The bottom line is that at a certain level the radio traffic changes from useful information to just noise, and noise is normally filtered and at a certain level the filter might get clogged, and that is the time we turn down the volume on the VHF.

 

What is Your experience, do You think it is a problem and what can be done to improve?