Marine station Tascoast Radio to change its operations

Alastair Douglas
The marine station Tascoast Radio operated by The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania is to change its operations due to the impact of various technological advancements.

Since April 1983 Tascoast Radio has conducted twice daily broadcasts for mariners sailing Tasmanian waters and for long-distance sailors travelling throughout the south-west Pacific. Initiated by the late Jeff Boyes BEM, a Life Member of the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, then in later years by a small team of volunteer members of the club, the service has provided essential safety information including weather forecasts, tracking positional information, navigational assistance and message relays.

Past Commodore Alastair Douglas, who has been the manager of the service for the past 13 years, said today 'Modern technology has removed the essential need for the daily service that was once considered essential for cruising yachts. Usage of the service by mariners has now significantly diminished.'

The advent of automated broadcasts of weather forecasts, satellite technology such as satellite telephones and GPS, computers having internet and email access while at sea, have all removed the need for the twice daily voice radio service that will end on 30 November 2013.

RYCT Commodore Richard Batt commented 'It is sad to see the passing of an era of routine radio voice communications but fortunately with many other existing automatic and voice services the safety of mariners is not being compromised. The small team of RYCT volunteer radio operators who have quietly and unobtrusively gone about the business of maintaining the regular service are all to be commended for their expertise and dedication.' Tascoast Radio is believed to be the last regular club run marine radio service in Australia.

However, the RYCT will continue providing a safety service to organised yachting events such as the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race, the Van Diemen's Land Circumnavigation Cruise, Tasports Maria Island Race as well as supporting other clubs and organisations in their events as the occasions arise.

RYCT member Ian Millhouse on Tascoast Radio watch for the Maria Island Race.
Alastair Douglas