Marine VHF Operation: GMDSS Edition by Michael Gale
Marine VHF Operation: GMDSS Edition by Michael Gale

Are your procedures up to scratch
I remember using an earlier edition of Michael Gales Marine VHF Operation as my main information source when I took my Certificate of Competence examination.
Now, some ten years later, much of the text appears unchanged, but careful inspection shows how the book has evolved with changes in current practice. That I gained a lot from reading this new edition shows how easy it is to slip into bad practices over time.
The author follows a logical path through the background knowledge required and proceeds to sections on specific operations. The theory is aimed directly at exam requirements and a cross-reference system is used to identify relevant questions.
Bearing in mind that the book is closely related to formal legislation, the author does well to avoid adopting a cold format. To pass the exam you need theoretical knowledge, practical experience and the nerve to overcome fear of radio operations.
The book adequately covers the first requirement and will go a long way towards achieving the second, if not the third.
Later sections cover specific procedures such as calling the Coastguard and Coast Radio Stations, with scripts that can easily be modified to suit your needs. One or two calls using these procedures should overcome any misgivings.
Important to existing users are the changes in procedures described for certain areas around the coast, particularly in the English Channel.
Similarly, the new section on distress calls provides a good insight into the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS), due to take effect from 1 February 1999.
This is a useful addition to any boat-users bookshelf, but you will get maximum benefit by using it as a reference book while working towards your examination.
Frank Brown

Marine VHF Operation: GMDSS Edition by Michael Gale, Fernhurst Books (tel. 01903 882277), Softback £7.95.