Nautical Alphabet

5 December 2011 On The Water

When making marine radio transmissions on the lake, the following phonetic alphabet is the accepted standard.

It is important to be up to date on how to properly communicate when in the boat. All members of the family should take the VHF course and review the material every year after receiving a Radio Operator’s Certificate – Marine.

The ROC(M) is required to transmit on all marine radios (VHF, MF/HF, and SSB radios). Boaters are not required to have the ROC(M) certificate to use FRS or CB radios.

The Canadian Coast Guard recommends the use of a VHF-FM radio for making distress calls on the water, whenever possible.

Nautical Alphabet

Review the nautical alphabet every spring before each new cottage boating season begins.

A – Alpha
B – Bravo
C – Charlie
D – Delta
E – Echo
F – Fox-trot
G – Golf
H – Hotel
I – India
J – Juliet
K – Kilo
L – Lima
M – Mike
N – November
O – Oscar
P – Papa
Q – Quebec
R – Romeo
S – Sierra
T – Tango
U – Uniform
V – Victor
W – Whiskey
X – X-Ray
Y – Yankee
Z – Zulu

When you are required to spell a word that you are trying to communicate using the marine radio, the procedure is as follows:

Say the word, and then say, “I spell”, before spelling the word using the nautical alphabet above.

When communicating numbers, say them one at a time and use the following phonetic pronunciations:

1 – won
2 – too
3 – tree
4 – fow-er
5 – fife
6 – six
7 – seven
8 – ait
9 – nin-er
0 – zero

Horn Signals When Boating

The following horn signals are used to indicate the direction you intend to go when boating:

Turning to Starboard: 1 Short Blast
Turning to Port: 2 Short Blasts
Going Astern: 3 Short Blasts

Leaving the Dock: 1 Long Blast
Open Bridge: 1 Long Blast and 1 Short Blast
Danger: 5 Short Blasts

Parts of the boat
Bow – front of the boat
Stern – back of the boat
Port – left side of the boat (red light is on this side)
Starboard – right side of the boat (green light is on this side)

Go to the Boat Docking Guide page.
Go to the Boat Motor Positioning page.