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HF radiotelephone monitoring in Australia

Wednesday 5 May 2021
From 1 January 2022, AMSA will provide 24-hour nationwide monitoring of high frequency (HF) radiotelephone distress, urgency and safety communications in Australia.
search and rescue

HF radiotelephone is a solution for a vessel outside VHF shore station range to send and receive distress and maritime safety information with other vessels and shore stations.

How this will it affect you

There should be minimal impact on mariners during the transition of responsibility for monitoring HF radiotelephone from the State and Northern Territory authorities to AMSA. 

With a change in responsibility, this could mean changes to how the service is delivered. We will announce how our HF radiotelephone monitoring service will be provided within the coming weeks.

In the meantime, it is important to stress that there will be no change to:

  • Australian Bureau of Meteorology weather warnings and forecasting.
  • AMSA’s HF digital selective calling (DSC) service (including navigational warnings).
  • Ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore or shore-to-ship for general or public communication (where available).

Why this is changing

Since 2002, the States and Northern Territory (jurisdictions) have been responsible for providing 24-hour nationwide monitoring of HF radiotelephone distress, safety and urgency communication by shore stations in Australia. 

Over the years, the use of HF radiotelephone as the first and only means of emergency calling has been in steady decline. This prompted the jurisdictions and AMSA to review the ongoing requirement for shore station monitoring of HF radiotelephone in Australia.

From 1 October 2019 until 29 November 2019, the jurisdictions and AMSA undertook consultation with customers and stakeholders. Based on feedback received, and AMSA consideration of the implications on its regulated community, particularly vessels that fall under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012, a 24-hour HF radiotelephone monitoring service must continue to be provided in Australia.

Read more about the consultation.