Sea Tow Starts Free Radio Check Service - 04/28/2010

With the reliability of modern VHF radios and antennas, many boaters have gotten lax about conducting a quick radio check before shoving off for a day of activities on the water. Others don’t do it because they consider it an imposition on nearby boaters with better things to do. Now, Sea Tow is offering to happily receive your radio check, in Boston and along the South Shore of Massachusetts, MA and automatically confirm that your signal was received. We think this is a terrific public service for boaters. There are several locations offering the Automatic Radio Check service nationwide.

Radio Check
Before leaving the dock or the mooring, professional boaters always conduct a radio check by sending out a signal into the ether to raise a Good Samaritan to confirm that their communications equipment is in good working order.

Press Release From Sea Tow, April 19, 2010---

Sea Tow® Launches Automatic Radio Check Service

VHF channels 27 & 28 will be home to an important boating safety service

Sea Tow is pleased to announce a first of its kind public service for the safety of boaters in coastal Massachusetts. Boaters are now able to conduct 24/7, automated radio checks on VHF channels 27 and 28 (depending on location).

Boston Area

The service is unique in that it does not require the response of other boaters or watch-standers in order to work, nor does it require special equipment. This free service is available through Sea Tow’s ongoing partnership with MariTEL.

The automated radio check service is currently available in Boston Harbor on channel 27 and along Boston's South Shore on channel 28. Sea Tow plans to expand the service to the Cape & Islands later this year, bringing the coverage to all of coastal Massachusetts.

How To Do It

To conduct an automated radio check, turn your VHF radio to channel 27 or 28, key the mike, and ask for a radio check, just as you would on any other channel. The system will respond with an automated reply and replay your original radio transmission, letting you know exactly how well your radio is working and how you sound to others.

Don’t Use Channel 16

"Many boaters do radio checks on channel 16 – the hailing and distress channel," says Captain Ethan Maass of Sea Tow South Shore. "Calling on channel 16 often leads to a friendly reminder from the Coast Guard that the checks are improper use of the channel.

By offering the automated radio check service, we hope to help reduce unnecessary traffic on channel 16 and to encourage safer boating through safer communications on the radio,” Capt. Ethan said. The antennas for this radio check system are located at Sea Tow's offices in East Boston (channel 27) and in Marshfield, MA (channel 28).

The following Sea Tow locations are also offering the Automatic Radio Check service. More are scheduled to come online throughout the boating season, including:

Sea Tow Wrightsville Beach (N.C.)

Sea Tow Sebastian (Fla.)

Sea Tow Rhode Island

Sea Tow Manasquan (N.J.)

Sea Tow Northern Chesapeake (Md.)

Sea Tow Central Chesapeake (Md.)

Sea Tow Hampton Roads (Va.)

Sea Tow Charlotte Harbor (Fla.)

Sea Tow Tampa Bay (Fla.)

Sea Tow Carrabelle/St. Marks (Fla.)

Sea Tow Pensacola (Fla.)

Sea Tow Galveston (Texas)

Sea Tow Newport/LA (Calif.)

About Sea Tow:

Sea Tow Services International, Inc. is the nation’s leading marine assistance provider. Founded in 1983 by Chairman & CEO Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow now serves over 165,000 members in approximately 110 locations throughout the United States, Europe, Australia, the Bahamas and Puerto Rico. For a full list of membership benefits, or to inquire about becoming a Sea Tow franchisee, please visit