Wyoming Boating Safety Course


VHF (very high frequency) radiotelephonea high frequency electronic communication system. is used to communicate with other boaters, the Coast Guard, commercial vessels, drawbridge tenders, and lock operators. A VHF is not required to be U.S. Coast Guard approved and recreational boaters are not required to carry VHF radios.

Recreational boats less than 20 meters in length are NOT required to have a station license to operate a VHF radio unless they travel to foreign ports or transmit to foreign stations. Use of a VHF radio is enforced by the U.S. Coast Guard.

There are many channels on the VHF, but recreational boaters are given access only to a few.

Channel Number

Channel Purpose/Use


Inter-ship safety communications only


Commercial and non-commercial inter-ship, ship to coast and alternate calling channel


Ocean-going vessels, bridge tenders, tugs while towing, locks


Distress safety and calling, call Coast Guard, establish general contact


Public telephone calls (to call the marine operator)

68,69,71 &78

Non-commercial inter-ship and ship to coast (recreational boat working channels)


Non-commercial inter-ship only

Marine weather (WX-1, WX-2, WX-3) stations broadcast the latest available weather information from the National Weather Service continually. Forecasts are updated every six hours, or more often as conditions require.