Hobart Mercury
June 1976
Network for Sea Safety


Les Collis & Barry McCann
Mr Collis (left) and Mr McCann with the radio that will open a new era of safety in pleasure boating in South-Eastern Tasmania

Two Hobart men have introduced a low-cost radio network for small craft in South-East Tasmanian waters.

Barry McCann and Les Collis have formed the Tasmanian small craft marine radio group, which will operate a radio network in the area.

The Postal and Telecommunications Department has changed regulations to allow the first network of its kind in Australia.

Small craft such as runabouts now will be able to link with the network for a cost of around $200, compared with $1,000 to $1,500 for conventional radio sets.

The frequency used in lower-priced units previously was against regulations, and most pleasyre craft users could not afford the bigger sets.

Mr. Collis, who has been associated with powerboats and navigation trials for a long time, said the membership fee would cover the cost of a base station at Margate.

"The network will be open for use by all members of the public, but they must join the group to operate the radios legally," he said.

It would be a great bebefit to pleasure craft users, giving extra safety at an economic cost.

"The network will operate on two channels, an emergency and a domestic, enabling ship-to-ship contact and distress calls," he said.

It would save unnecessary calls on emergency services, as a radio message could be sent advising when a boat was sheltering from bad weather.

On the other hand, a boat in distress could be located and aid sent almost immediately.