Working as a Radio Operator Offshore

Working as a Radio Operator Offshore

The Job Description for a Radio Operator (R.O) working on an Oil Rig Offshore is not basic common knowledge. Their responsibilities include their communication requirements and responsibilities for both Marine, and Aeronautical operations. On the one hand they would be required to:

MARINE VHF (Working Channels 06, 09, 70 to name but a few plus Distress Frequency Channel 16)

  • Communicate internally on the Offshore Instillation
  • Communicate with the Supply Vessel or other shipping in the immediate vicinity
  • Listen out/Monitor on International Distress Frequency Channel 16

AERONAUTICAL VHF (Selected Operational frequency plus 121.5 MHz)

  • Communicate with the Helicopter/s for all transits to and from the Offshore Instillation
  • Communicate with any other Aviation traffic on the Operational frequency
  • Listen out/Monitor on International distress frequency

Having worked as a RO on numerous Offshore Instillations in the North Sea and West Africa regions, I slowly became familiar with transitioning between Aviation and Marine RT lingo. This is an interesting experience as you find yourself `juggling` between RT terms such as `Roger` and `Copied` depending on which radio you are transmitting on at the time. This is not to say that transmissions are not being understood, it does however mean that there are certain terms that are used specifically for that sector alone. The International Civil Aviation Organisation speaks to Aviation while the International Maritime Organisation gives clear guidelines for Marine RT.

Future-generation radios will most likely offer many more channels than those listed in this Blog. Marine DSC channels already allow touch screen communication while the Aviation sector utilises a system called CPDLC in busier airspaces to reduce the amount of live frequency `on air` time.  

Whatever technology introduces now, or in the future, the work of a Radio Operator will always include RT communications that may not lead to misinterpretation or ambiguity. They need to understand the requirements for both Maritime and Aviation, be PTT Alert and ready to communicate in a language that oozes of professional radio telephony.

For more information on your Aviation or Marine RT requirements please chat to us now.