VHF and Vessel Traffic Services

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could tell when and where those big ships will appear?  Actually, you can.  On San Francisco Bay, VHF channels 12, 13, and 14 are dedicated to exactly that.

  • Channel 12 is reserved for ships outside the Golden Gate, whether approaching or exiting the bay.
  • Channel 14 is utilized by commercial traffic inside the Golden Gate.  If you learn the docks and anchorages around the bay, you will always be on top of the traffic.
  • Finally, Channel 13 is for “bridge to bridge” communications … no, not the kind of bridge you drive across … ship’s bridge to ship’s bridge.

Set your handheld VHF to scan these three channels as well as channel 16, and you will not get caught unawares when it comes to commercial traffic approaching your location.

For more information on VHF radio channels, turn to page 71 of the Tide & Current Tables.

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