Over the Airwaves
One of the first spring days on Sydney Harbour, early afternoon and the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol voice is warm and friendly as she chats on VHF Channel 22 to the boaties heading out to fish. She gathers their contact details, asks for their locations and intentions, remarks what a glorious day it is on the water.
Another voice calls in, this one with an Indian accent. There’s confusion about the name of his boat. She’s referring to it as The Shambles, a bit concerned as she doesn’t seem to have any details logged for it. He corrects her, calling her Madam, spelling the name of his boat phonetically SIERRA-HOTEL-ALPHA-MIKE ZULU-UNIFORM.
He refers to her as Coastal Control, saying Coastal Control asked him at 10.30 a.m. to check in two hours later. He uses Madam politely each time he talks. She thanks him for checking in and informs him she is Coastal Patrol. Her warm voice asks for his position, ‘Madam, it is…’ he replies, giving his location carefully and precisely in degrees and minutes of latitude and longitude.
She notes this and enquires if he will be continuing to fish or moving on elsewhere.
‘Madam,’ he replies. ‘I am a bulk carrier.’