Maritime radio channels will be changing on 1 October 2016
New Zealand, along with a number of other countries, is required to change some maritime VHF repeater channels to make space for newly allocated international services for ship tracking and data services.
New Zealand will be moving a few private VHF repeater services, most Coastguard VHF repeater services, and all NowCasting weather services to accommodate these changes.
The frequency changes will take place in New Zealand on October 1 2016, before the peak summer recreational boating season when VHF radio services become busy. This ensures New Zealand is ready for the changes that come into force internationally on 1 January 2017.
No change to emergency distress calling Maritime Channel 16
Although some maritime channels will be changing, the existing maritime Channel 16 used for safety, distress and calling purposes will not change.
No need to buy a new radio
Your current radio will be able to access all the available channels after the changes take place. However, you may need to switch to a new channel number to continue to access your local repeater or listen to the weather forecast.
New maritime channels
The biggest change you will notice is the new 4 digit maritime channels for the Coastguard and NowCasting weather service. These 4-digit channel numbers are allocated internationally to new maritime channels. New Zealand will be using some of these new 4-digit maritime channels for the Coastguard and privately provided NowCasting weather services.
You will still be able to listen to the weather channels on your current VHF set by simply dropping the first two digits and using the last two digits of the 4-digit channel number. For example, in the Waitemata Harbour where the new weather channel number is 2019, you only need to use channel 19.