WA DOT notice - Cessation of HF Radio Monitoring

7 November 2018, notice from the Department of Transport WA

Cessation of HF Radio Monitoring

The Maritime Agency Forum have recently endorsed the decision to cease 24 hour voice monitoring of HF radio across Australia by 31 December 2020. This is based on the limited use of HF and improvement in alternate technologies.

A review of statistics over the last 4 years if provided below.  

There were 2 Distress, 6 Urgency and 0 Safety transmissions initiated by vessels, where HF voice was the only form of communications used. The vessel type and location breakdown of these are:

  • Queensland                              2 recreational vessels;
  • New South Wales                   2 recreational vessels;
  • South Australia                        1 recreational vessel;
  • Western Australia                  1 recreational vessel and 1 Domestic Commercial Vessel;
  • Northern Territory                 1 recreational vessel; and
  • Tasmania                                   0 recorded incidents.


Of these, 3 vessels were known to have other forms of alerting devices onboard, but were not used. No information is available to indicate if the remaining vessels had alternate means of alerting equipment onboard. However in WA all were legally required to carry an EPIRB.

There is currently no legal requirement in WA for recreational vessels to carry HF radio however we are aware a number of recreational vessels do carry HF particular those operating well off shore. We are keen to understand what other communication equipment is currently being used by the recreational sector to ensure there are adequate alternatives to HF i.e. hard wired Satellite telephone equipment and GMDSS type equipment.

Further consultation and a communications plan is currently being developed and we wish to provide a list of current alternatives to provide vessels owners time to adjust to these changes. Please note there is no proposal to amend legislation as HF and any alternatives are seen as secondary communication devices to an EPIRB in an emergency situation. If you can please advise if you or your members are utilising any other technology it would be greatly appreciated.


Marine Safety | Department of Transport

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