Even in a world of cell phones and internet, it is sometimes necessary for family and friends to make contact with those aboard, offshore on passage or anchored in remote, or off the grid locations. Emergency and priority messages can be passed to yachts by contacting the “Boat Watch Net” which is operated as a public service of The Maritime Mobile Service Network, Inc. They utilize their extensive contacts to enable high priority communications and locate overdue and missing vessels.
Their extensive network consists of all known amateur radio networks having to do with mariners and some commercial networks. They also utilize many contacts outside of the amateur or ham spectrum. Using their extensive contacts all over the world, on yachts and on land, they target your important message to a portion of their distribution list based on the last known whereabouts and next destination of the boat in question. They have successfully contacted over 100 vessels, many in record time, and have verified passage of the priority information. Make your shore side family and emergency contacts aware of this valuable service. To initiate a boat watch, complete their online Incident Reporting Form.
SEARCH is a nonprofit, tax exempt foundation which raises funds to provide financial and technical assistance to voluntary search and rescue organizations throughout the Southwest North Atlantic and Caribbean regions.
Visit SEARCH for a current list of those organizations as well as how to contact them.
To report an incident, visit the CSSN Incident Reporting page.
Those with web access, can fill in the Incident Reporting Form online.
Please use the Boat Watch Net to pass only emergency and priority messages, NOT for confirming flights, arrival times, “just wonder where you are” etc. They do this on a volunteer basis, as a public service, and we do not want to take advantage of them.
They have extensive contacts all over the world, on yachts and on land, and will target your message to a portion of the distribution list based on the last known whereabouts and next destination of the boat in question.
Sources for Weather / Radio Schedules
There are a variety of sources for weather information in the Eastern Caribbean, and many local VHF nets. The Caribbean Compass publishes a helpful list in their January and June issues, and carries the most recently published list on their website.
Visit Compass for Wx Information
Other weather sources include:
WHO and CDC
WHO and the CDC are good worldwide sources for an extensive view of potential health concerns while you travel.
WHO, the World Health Organization, is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. Among its responsibilities are proving leadership for global health matters and monitoring and assessing health trends. Their website is available is several languages and includes current health information for most countries.
CDC, the United States Center for Disease Control and Prevention, falls under the Department of Health and Human Services and seeks to accomplish its mission of promoting health by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability, by working with partners throughout the United States and the world to detect and investigate health problems, among other goals. Their website is available in English and Spanish, and includes current health issues for many nations around the world.
(Organizacion Nacional de Salvamento y Seguridad Maritima de los Espacios Aquaticos de Venezuela) is a Venezuelan voluntary civilian organization (non-profit and non-governmental) dedicated to three main goals:
- To assist in maritime safety and ecological protection in cooperation with the respective Venezuelan authorities
- To participate in search and rescue operations at sea
- To encourage the development of a system for rescue and maritime safety in Venezuela waters for the purpose of the preservation of human lives as well as the protection of the marine environment
Mariners to wish to report any kind of criminal incident related to their vessel in Venezuela in either Spanish or English may do so at ONSA Reports.
In addition, ONSA produces a bi-annual map of risk zones which can be found at ONSA HOME PAGE RADAR MAP
If you are planning to cruise in Venezuela or Colombia and do not speak Spanish well, you might want to be able to at least call for help in Spanish: Spanish MAY DAY
The Soufrière Hills Volcano began erupting on July 18, 1995. The Montserrt Volcano Observatory was established soon afterwards to monitor volcanic activity and provide impartial advice to the civil authorities. Yachts are warned that there is a maritime exclusion zone around the southern parts of the island, extending 2.5 miles or 4 km off shore from the old airport (16.77 degrees north, 62.17 west) to Old Road Bluff (16.75 degrees north, 62.24 degrees west), although this exclusion zone changes, based on current volcano activity. Yachts are also cautioned that ash cloud can inflict severe damage to sails, decks, cockpit canvas and windows, and to air intake filters. The prudent mariner will pass far to the west (some say as many as fifteen miles) or to the east, depending on the prevailing winds.
Visitors to the island and those passing by are advised to tune to ZJB Radio 88.3 or 95.5 FM for up-to-date information on the volcano. Further information, including history and photos can be found at MONTSERRAT
Kick ’em Jenny Underwater Volcano
Kick ‘em Jenny is a submarine volcano located about 5 miles or 8km north of Grenada at 12.18 degrees North and 61.38 degrees West. The underwater volcano should not be confused with the island known as Kick ‘em Jenny or Diamond Rock, just a mile to the northeast of the volcano. The last eruption of Kick ‘em Jenny occurred in December 2001. At that time, vulcanologist carefully monitored the activity, using equipment installed both at the volcano itself and in the town of Sauters, on the north coast of Grenada.
During a research expedition in March 2003, scientists from the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Unit, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the University of Rhode Island discovered three craters (C1, C2 and Kick ’em Jack) and two domes (D1 and D2) near Kick ’em Jenny. Further investigations are needed to confirm whether these are separate ‘live’ volcanoes. The Seismic Research Unit of the University of the West Indies is the agency responsible for monitoring earthquakes and volcanoes for the English-speaking islands of the Eastern Caribbean as well as the Dutch islands of Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Martin.
Submarine volcanoes release large quantities of gas bubbles into the water, even in quiet times between eruptions. This can lower the density of the seawater above the vent. This is very dangerous to shipping, because boats entering a zone of lowered water density will lose buoyancy and may sink. For this reason scientists at the Seismic Research Unit, in collaboration with the government of Grenada, have instituted a 1-mile/1.5km exclusion zone around the summit of the volcano for pleasure craft and non-commercial traffic. The volcano is currently at a yellow alert level. If the alert level goes to orange or red, the exclusion zone will extend out to 3-miles/5 km from the summit of the volcano.
For further information, visit Kick ’em Jenny