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the choice of using a telephone for more privacy, or the radio.
You can rent cellular phones in the Virgins or bring your own from home. There is service by two cellular phone companies, Boatphone in the BVI and Vitel Cellular in the USVI. Information is available from your charter company regarding the availability and operation of cellular phones. All that is required is a major credit card.
How About Dinner Reservations?
Where telephone service is nonexistent, many restaurants stand by the VHF on Channel 16 or 68, which is reserved for ship-to-ship operation.
It is frowned upon by the local licensing authority to use the VHF Channel 12 for reservations if the restaurant can be reached via Tortola Radio on a phone patch.
Before attempting to make a VHF radio call, think it through. Understand the procedure and the limitations of the eq uipment you are using.
The call should begin with two repetitions of the station or vessel being called, followed by the name of your yacht, followed by the word "over." It is important to terminate with the "over" as the other party will then key his mike and reply.
Example: "...Moorings, Moorings, this is the vessel Bodacious ZJL 172, over..."
If you get no response, repeat the call. If there is still no response, try again in 5 minutes. When contact is to be terminated, the party will sign off: "...This is Bodacious, ZJL 172 clear with Moorings..."
In case of a real emergency, you should come up on Channel 16, "...Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. This is the vessel Bodacious, over..."
Repeat three times until contact is made. Then give your location and the nature of your problem. It is important to state only the pertinent information and not to cloud the situation with emotion.
• Don't allow anyone to use the radio unless they are familiar with the procedure and the problem.
The U.S. Coast Guard in San Juan monitors 24 hours per day.
Virgin Island Radio in St. Thomas monitors 24 hours per day.
Tortola Radio monitors from 0700 to 1900, but in a Mayday situation an operator will respond.
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