Coast Guard officials say the VHF network issue that has been causing intermittent communication outages across Southeast Alaska has been resolved and that repairs are ongoing. Still due to extreme weather conditions and the remote locations where these radio towers are installed does remain an issue and intermittent outages are expected to continue at various locations.
Sites that the Coast Guard is still unable to receive communications from or have intermittent VHF communications include Mt. McArther, Deception Hills, Sukkwan Island, Althorp Peak, Cape Gull and Raspberry Island. The Coast Guard is urging mariners to use extra caution in areas serviced by those VHF towers.
Mariners are also reminded that due to mountainous terrain and limited VHF coverage, even with fully operational VHF sites, that the Coast Guard cannot hear VHF calls in all areas. Mariners are advised to have secondary means of communications on board at all times, file a float plan with a trusted person and carry safety equipment on board in the event they find themselves in a survival situation.
All boaters are also asked to also carefully evaluate their ability to assist distressed mariners and to always relay any heard distress calls to the Coast Guard. Emergency phone numbers include 907-463-2980 for Sector Juneau Command Center, 907-428-4100 for Sector Anchorage Command Center and 907-463-2000 for the 17th District Command Center.
Charts showing the locations of VHF tower sites in Alaska on the Coast Guard’s Navigation Center websites include https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/images/marcomms/cgcomms/Rescue21/SecAnchorage.jpg