Radio repeater makes Foxton coast much safer for boaties

Boating off the coast of Foxton, Himatangi, and Waitarere just got safer after the installation of a radio repeater that will provide wider coverage to the marine community.

The Manawatu Marine Boating Club, with Coastguard Manawatu and the Foxton Beach Surf Life Saving Club, installed the marine radio repeater on Marine Channel 64 last week.

The new repeater, located on the Foxton Surf Lifesaving Club building, enables wider and improved radio coverage to boat users in the area.

It will add to radio coverage from the Kapiti area, which operates on Channel 84, the Whanganui area on Channel 85, and Tangimoana on Channel 61.

Central District Police Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Bill Nicholson said it was a great step forward for boating safety and search operations along the coast.

"Prior to this Foxton Sports Radio operated on Marine Channel 77 with limited line of sight communications from Foxton Beach with incomplete coverage, especially for vessels operating close to shore at Waitarere."

Nicholson said the new channel had eliminated those dead spots.

Over the next few weeks Foxton Sports Radio operators will be encouraging all boaties to switch from Channel 77 to 64.

But they will monitor both channels to ensure a seamless migration.

Manawatu Coastguard president Eddie Bambury said the members were excited at the prospect of advancing the coverage for the safety and wellbeing of everyone at sea in the area. Plans are under way to install recording software for Channel 64 to enable the ability for immediate playback of radio transmissions.

Nicholson said boat users should have two forms of communication - a marine radio and an emergency locator beacon - and be wearing lifejackets.

"Cellphones should not be relied on as the primary means of communication as coverage can be patchy off the coast," he said.

Manawatu Standard