Items of Interest

 

As of January 1st, 2018, SNOCOM and SNOPAC have merged into one agency, Snohomish County 911. The home for Snohomish County 911 is  WWW.SNO911.ORG. The SNOCOM and SNOPAC websites will remain online for a period of time in order to help get the word out that we have consolidated. The old sites will no longer be updated, so please use the new site for the lastest information about Snohomish County 911.

 

DO I USE MY MARINE RADIO OR MY WIRELESS PHONE WHEN CALLING FOR EMERGENCY HELP?
Wireless phones may be used to call 9-1-1 during a boating emergency. I wireless phone is an excellent backup communications' device. However, a wireless phone is not a substitute for a VHF-FM marine radio. A marine radio has several distinct advantages over a wireless phone. With the relative low cost and compact size of a marine radio, any boater on any size of craft (including canoes and kayaks) should carry a radio.

A marine radio:

  • Is waterproof
  • Provides immediate notification of distress to any vessel listening on that channel which means faster assistance
  • Allows for rescue units to home in on transmission

EMERGENCY RADIO BOATING PROCEDURES

  • Make sure radio is on and turned to VHF Channel 16
  • Press microphone button and clearly say: "MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, THIS IS.' (Give the following information: vessel name and/or description - type, color, and length)
  • Position and/or location
  • Nature of emergency
  • Number of people on board
  • Release microphone button briefly
  • Wait for 10 seconds. If no answer, repeat the MAYDAY call
  • Follow directions and provide information requested by the rescue agency. If situation permits, stand by the radio for further communication with the Coast Guard or another vessel

WHO WILL I REACH WITH MY WIRELESS PHONE?
Wireless phone service may not be available on all waters. If service is available your 9-1-1 call for assistance will be picked up by the nearest cellular tower in the most direct line of sight to your location. The 9-1-1 center receiving your call has no way of knowing from where you are calling unless you tell them. Be prepared to provide your location. Call 9-1-1 only in an actual emergency.

WHEN USING A WIRELESS PHONE TO CALL 9-1-1, BE SURE YOU KNOW...

  • How your wireless phone works. Your phone may be pre-programmed to dial 9-1-1 with one button. You could accidentally call 9-1-1 and not know it. Handle your phone carefully to prevent the automatic misdialing of 9-1-1.
  • How to increase the phone's signal strength. Point antenna up; turn your body- you may be obstructing signal; find a clearing. Move from behind a mountain or island. Get on the boat's highest point.

AND CAN CONVEY...

  • Your name and your wireless phone number
  • From where you are calling: on a boat, island, or shore
  • The emergency situation
  • Condition of vessel/name of vessel
  • Number of people on board
  • Condition/health/ages of people on board
  • How long you can stay afloat if sinking
  • Your location or last known location
  • Time and point of departure from dock
  • Your destination
  • Weather condition
  • Identify the survival equipment available

WIRELESS 9-1-1 PHONE CALLS IN THE SAN JUAN ISLANDS
While 9-1-1 phone service is available in the San Juan Islands, it is not recommended for wireless phones. Instead when using a wireless phone to place a 9-1-1 call to summon help, dial 360-378-4141. If you contact a 9-1-1 call taker, emphasize that you are on a boat in the water and provide your last known location. Ask for Coast Guard assistance.

THE 10 ESSENTIALS
(Some items are not required on some vessels.)

  • VHF-marine radio: Test the radio prior to departure. Carry a fully charged battery for hand-held units. If a wireless phone is also carried, be sure it too is fully charges, and pack an extra battery
  • Approved life jacket for every person on board
  • Throwable flotation device: With floatable line attached to boat
  • Sound producing device: Horn, whistle, bell
  • Visual distress signals: Flare or distress flag and SOS signal light
  • Compass and chart of area
  • First aid and survival kit
  • Anchor and anchor line
  • Bilge pump and manual pump or bailing device
  • Fire extinguishers: Fully charged

PRE-DEPARTURE CHECKLIST

  • Fuel tank full and oil level checked: 1/3 Out, 1/3 Return, 1/3 Reserve
  • Drain plugs installed
  • Battery fully charged: Batteries secured, terminals covered
  • Navigation lights working prorerly
  • Vessel properly loaded: People and equipment
  • Paddles/oars
  • Tool kit and spare parts
  • Marine weather forecast checked
  • Float plan left with friends
  • Documentation: Numbering on vessel; registration on board; placards posted; radio licenses; EPIRB registered.
  • Food, spare food, water, clothing
  • Passengers briefed on emergency procedures, equipment operation and location


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