Calling RCC on *16

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  • #22893
    Nick Heath

    During a recent paddle near Parksville, I was speaking with a Coast Guard operator on Ch 16 using my handheld VHF radio. The operator said I was difficult to hear/understand and would I please call back on my mobile phone at *16.  After I dug out my phone and turned it on,  *16 would not work. Instead my phone provider’s (Shaw) robot, suggested I call 611 for assistance.  This was fruitless.

    However I recalled that I had stored Rescue Coordination Centre phone numbers in my phone, so I used one of these numbers and got an immediate, helpful response.

    So I learned:

    1) that it is good to store those  numbers (and they have long been on each of my float plans)

    2) *16 might be unreliable (but RCC expressed some surprise at this)

    3) keep the cell phone close at hand in a waterproof case

    The numbers are:

    1 800 567 5111

    1 250 363 2333

    I guess another point is to routinely check my VHF radio, to see that it is working correctly, but I believe it was performing normally.

    Has anyone else experienced difficulty with *16 calls?


Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #22900
    Heather Kirk


    The other thing about calling using as cell phone rather than a VHF is that they can pinpoint your location precisely, even if the location you give to the Coast Guard is incorrect. This could save significant time for the rescuers to reach you.

    Nick Heath

    Here’s what the RCC supervisor says:


    I’m not sure why *16 did not work for you, it should have. I will forward
    this along to our technicians, and in the future if you have difficulty
    with *16, you can always call us direct at 250-363-6611. Thank you
    for the information.

    Victoria MCTS

    Kevin Amos

    It is important for subscribers to determine if their cellular carrier offers this feature to its customers,” stated the Canadian Coast Guard on the website.

    The *16 service is free to the cellphone subscribers and no air-time or long distance are charged. The use of the service is “normally” restricted to obtaining assistance or relaying information relating to distress and urgency situations.

    Nick Heath

    Thks Kevin. Are you suggesting this service is not available locally? If so, why would CCG ask me to use it? Anyway, I’m asking RCC for their comments and will share those, assuming they respond.

    Kevin Amos

    From the website

    ∗16 on a cellphone (where available)

Viewing 5 replies - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
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