Nautical Alphabet

5 December 2011 On The Water

When making marine radio transmissions either in conversation or using a code, the following phonetic alphabet is the accepted standard.

Nautical Alphabet

Take the time to practice the letters with the family until everyone knows them by heart. Review the nautical alphabet every spring before each new cottage boating season begins.

A – Alpha
B – Beta
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

Marine Radio Phonetic Pronunciation

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, 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

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