PART I - GENERAL 1 Procedure When it is necessary to indicate that the SMCP are to be used, the following message may be sent: "Please use Standard Marine Communication Phrases" "I will use Standard Marine Communication P

IMO STANDARD MARINE COMMUNICATION PHRASES (SMCPs) Part 1

Maritime blog

PART I - GENERAL

1 Procedure

When it is necessary to indicate that the SMCP are to be used, the following message may be sent:

"Please use Standard Marine Communication Phrases"

"I will use Standard Marine Communication Phrases"

2 Spelling

When in external communication spelling is necessary, only the following spelling table should be used:

Letter

Code

Letter

Code

Figure

Code word

A

Alfa

N

November

0

Nadazero

B

Bravo

O

Oscar

1

Unaone

C

Charlie

P

Papa

2

Bissotwo

D

Delta

Q

Quebec

3

Terrathree

E

Echo

R

Romeo

4

Kartefour

F

Foxtrot

S

Sierra

5

Pantafive

G

Golf

T

Tango

6

Soxisix

H

Hotel

U

Uniform

7

Setteseven

I

India

V

Victor

8

Oktoeight

J

Juliet

W

Whisky

9

Novenine

K

Kilo

X

X-ray

Full stop

Stop

L

Lima

Y

Yankee

Decimal

Decimal

M

Mike

Z

Zulu

point

3 Message Markers

In shore-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication or radio communication in general, the following eight Message Markers may be used ( also see "Application of Message Markers" given in section 6 "Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) Standard Phrases" of PART III):

(i) Instruction

(ii) Advice

(iii) Warning

(iv) Information

(v) Question

(vi) Answer

(vii) Request

(viii) Intention


4 Responses

4.1 When the answer to a question is in the affirmative, say:

"Yes, .... " - followed by the appropriate phrase in full.

4.2 When the answer to a question is in the negative, say:

"No, ..." - followed by the appropriate phrase in full.

4.3 When the information requested is not immediately available, say:

"Stand by" - followed by the time interval within which the information will be available.

4.4 When the information requested cannot be obtained, say:

"No information."

4.5 When an INSTRUCTION (e.g. by a VTS-Station, Naval vessel or other fully authorized personnel ) or an ADVICE is given, respond if in the affirmative:

"I will/can ... " - followed by the instruction or advice in full; and,

if in the negative, respond:

"I will not/cannot ... " - followed by the instruction or advice in full.

Example: "ADVICE. Do not overtake vessel ahead of you."

Respond: "I will not overtake vessel ahead of me."

The responses to orders of special importance, however, are given in wording in the phrases concerned.

5 Distress, urgency and safety signals

5.1 MAYDAY is to be used to announce a distress message

5.2 PAN - PAN is to be used to announce an urgency message

5.3 SÈCURITÈ is to be used to announce a safety message

6 Standard organizational phrases (see also section 4 of "SEASPEAK Reference Manual")

6.1 "How do you read?"

6.1.1 "I read you ...

bad/one with signal strength one (i.e. barely perceptible)

poor/two with signal strength two (i.e. weak)

fair/three with signal strength three (i.e. fairly good)

good/four with signal strength four (i.e. good)

excellent/five with signal strength five (i.e. very good)


6.2 When it is advisable to remain on a VHF channel/frequency say:

"Stand by on VHF channel ... /frequency ... "

6.2.1 When it is accepted to remain on the VHF channel/frequency indicated, say:

"Standing by on VHF channel ... "/frequency ... "

6.3 When it is advisable to change to another VHF channel/frequency, say:

"Advise (you) change to VHF channel ... /frequency ...",

"Advise(you) try VHF channel .. /frequency."

6.3.1 When the changing of a VHF channel/frequency is accepted, say:

"Changing to VHF channel ... /frequency ... ."

7 Corrections

When a mistake is made in a message, say:

"Mistake ..." - followed by the word:

"Correction ... " plus the corrected part of the message.

Example: "My present speed 14 knots - mistake.

Correction, my present speed 12, one-two, knots."

8 Readiness

"I am /I am not ready to receive your message".

9 Repetition

9.1 If any part of the message are considered sufficiently important to need safeguarding, say:

"Repeat ... " - followed by the corresponding part of the message.

Example: "My draft 12.6 repeat one-two decimal 6 metres."

"Do not overtake - repeat - do not overtake."

9.2 When a message is not properly heard, say:

"Say again (please)."

10 Numbers

Numbers are to be spoken in separate digits:

"One-five-zero" for 150

"Two decimal five" for 2.5

Note: Attention! When rudder angles e.g. in wheel orders are given, say:

"Fifteen" for 15 or

"Twenty" for 20 etc..


11 Positions

11.1 When latitude and longitude are used, these shall be expressed in degrees and minutes (and decimals of a minute if necessary), north or south of the Equator and east or west of Greenwich.

Example: "WARNING. Dangerous wreck in position 15 degrees 34 minutes north

61 degrees 29 minutes west."

11.2 When the position is related to a mark, the mark shall be a well-defined charted object. The bearing shall be in the 360 degrees notation from true north and shall be that of the position FROM the mark.

Example: "Your position bearing 137 degrees from Barr Head lighthouse

distance 2.4 nautical miles."

12 Bearings

The bearing of the mark or vessel concerned, is the bearing in the 360 degree notation from north (true north unless otherwise stated), except in the case of relative bearings. Bearings may be either FROM the mark or FROM the vessel.

Examples: "Pilot boat bearing 215 degrees from you."

Note: Vessels reporting their position should always quote their bearing FROM the mark, as described in paragraph 11.2 of this chapter.

12.1 Relative bearings

Relative bearings can be expressed in degrees relative to the vessel's head or bow. More frequently this is in relation to the port or starboard bow.

Example: "Buoy 030 degrees on your port bow."

(Relative D/F bearings are more commonly expressed in the 360 degree notation.)

13 Courses

Always to be expressed in 360 degree notation from north (true north unless otherwise stated). Whether this is to TO or FROM a mark can be stated.

14 Distances

Preferably to be expressed in nautical miles or cables (tenths of a mile) otherwise in kilometres or metres, the unit always to be stated.

15 Speed

To be expressed in knots:

15.1 without further notation meaning speed through the water; or,

15.2 "ground speed" meaning speed over the ground.


16 Time

Times should be expressed in the 24 hour notation indicating whether UTC, zone time or local time is being used.

17 Geographical names

Place names used should be those on the chart or Sailing Directions in use.

Should these not be understood, latitude and longitude should be given.

18 Ambiguous words

Some words in English have meanings depending on the context in which they appear. Misunderstandings frequently occur, especially in VTS communications, and have produced accidents. Such words are:

18.1 The Conditionals "May", "Might", "Should" and "Could".

May

Do not say: "May I enter fairway?"

Say: "QUESTION. Is it permitted to enter fairway?"

Do not say: "You may enter fairway."

Say: "ANSWER. It is permitted to enter fairway."

Might

Do not say: "I might enter fairway."

Say: "INTENTION. I will enter fairway."

Should

Do not say: "You should anchor in anchorage B 3."

Say: "ADVICE. Anchor in anchorage B 3."

Could

Do not say: "You could be running into danger."

Say: "WARNING. You are running into danger."

18.2 The word "Can"

The word "Can" either describes the possibility or the capability of doing something. In the SMCP the situations where phrases using the word "Can" appear make it clear whether a possibility is referred to. In an ambiguous context, however, say, for example:

"QUESTION. Is it permitted to use shallow draft fairway at this time?",

do not say: "Can I use shallow draft fairway at this time?", if you ask for a permission.

(The same applies to the word "May")

Note: In cases not covered by PART I "General", the regular communication procedures prescribed by the ITU - Radio Regulations will prevail.


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