Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio logbook

The GMDSS radio log book is available to download free of charge.
AMSA 343

If you would like to purchase a hard copy of the GMDSS radio log book, use our chargeable publications order form. The price is A$4 per book.

You can use this form to maintain a Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio logbook as required by Marine Order 27.


Marine Order 27 requires a radio log-book to be carried on board vessels subject to the Navigation Act 2012. The GMDSS Radio Log Book (the radio log) should be kept in a location close to the radio station.

Pages from this publication should be printed as required and kept as a hard-copy. The radio log, and associated records, must be kept onboard for at least 2 years.

The log must be available for inspection by an officer appointed under the Navigation Act 2012 or an authorised official in a country other than Australia, who is carrying out an inspection in accordance with Article X of the STCW Convention.

Maintaining the radio log

The Master must nominate one or more crew members, normally the person/s qualified for distress and safety radio communications, to maintain the radio log and to carry out the tests and checks of the equipment required by Marine Order 27.

The radio log must contain a summary of communications relating to distress, urgency and safety messages. The summary must include dates and times in Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), details of the vessels involved and their positions.
Distress alerts and distress-related communications received as hard copy via INMARSAT satellite systems, NAVTEX or Narrow Band Direct Printing, VHF or MF/HF DSC should be noted in, and kept with, the log. Hard copy weather reports and navigation warnings need not be retained, but their receipt must be noted in the radio log, if not recorded in electronic form.

Electronic records of communications relating to distress, urgency, safety and receipts of weather reports, and navigation warnings, form part of the log, and must be retained and not overwritten.

Details of commercial communications exchanged via GMDSS communications equipment may also be recorded in the radio log.
The radio log should contain a record of important incidents connected with the radio service, for example:

  • a breakdown or serious malfunction of the equipment;
  • a breakdown of communications with coast stations, land earth stations or satellites;
  • adverse propagation conditions, such as ionospheric, static, atmospheric noise or general interference;
  • serious breaches of radio procedures by other stations;
  • any incident connected with the radio service, which appears to be of importance to the safety of life at sea.


Tests and checks of equipment and reserve power at intervals specified by the equipment manufacturer must be entered into the log. A summary of the operational capability of the equipment, together with the names of any station contacted during tests, should be recorded. If any of the radio equipment is found not to be operating satisfactorily, the Master must be notified and details of the deficiencies recorded in the log.

Note: The tests and checks of equipment may include daily, weekly or monthly tests. The operating manuals for the equipment should provide guidance on what tests and checks are recommended.


  • A list of all batteries used as a source of emergency power for the radio equipment must be entered in Annex 1.
  • Once a month, a full examination of each battery must be made, and a report on the general condition entered in Annex 2. If the batteries have sealed cells, then the general condition of the batteries is to be recorded, and the batteries replaced at the intervals recommended by the manufacturer.
  • If the batteries are inaccessible, as in an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), the batteries are to be replaced at intervals recommended by the UPS manufacturer.
  • At intervals specified by the manufacturer, the capacity of the batteries should be checked, using an appropriate method (such as a full discharge and recharge, using normal operating current and period (e.g. 10 h), when the ship is not at sea. At sea, assessment of battery condition should be done without significant discharge of the batteries. In the case of GMDSS UPS units, the in-built battery discharge test facilities should be exercised, when the ship is not at sea. If the battery or UPS manufacturer does not specify an interval for a discharge test, the test should be done at least annually.

Inspection of the log

The Master must inspect the log and sign each day's entries


Australian Maritime Safety Authority
Last updated: 1 January 2024