Guernsey Vessel Traffic Service (VTS) is the first point of contact for recreational craft and all commercial vessels using St Sampson's and St Peter Port Harbour's. The location of the Signal Station at the end of the White Rock Pier and the monitoring of CCTV, AIS, and VHF channels assist the VTS Officers in their task of keeping watch on the various activities in the harbour, day and night. CCTV, VHF and telephone conversations are all recorded and can be used in any investigation into incidents within the harbours.
Participation is compulsory for vessels of 20 metres or more in length, and those vessels engaged in towing, within the Guernsey VTS area. This area is enclosed by a line joining St Martin's Point, the Lower Heads Buoy, Le Plat Houmet, Tautenay, the Platte Fougere Lighthouse and Fort Doyle. The callsign 'Guernsey VTS', will be used by the VTS officers who govern and monitor vessel movements into and out of St Peter Port and St Sampson's Harbours and adjacent waters.
The VTS officers will also use standard Marine Communication Phrases, set out by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), and are designed to avoid any ambiguity or misunderstanding between VTS officers and vessel crew. This is particularly important where English is not the first language on the bridge of visiting vessels.
Port entry and exit
Commercial vessels entering or leaving St Peter Port or St Sampson's are severely constrained by their draught whilst manoeuvring within the harbour and the approaches and small craft are to be kept well clear. A red light on the White Rock Pier head in St Peter Port harbour, one on the south end of the New Jetty and one on the Inter Island Quay indicate that large vessels are under way and prohibit entry and exit of others. It is also good practice to listen to Guernsey VTS on VHF Channels 12 and 62 for commercial traffic movements.
Speed limits from four to six knots are in force in harbour areas. A speed limit of six knots is in force in most of the bays around the coast of Guernsey and in the approaches to Herm and Jethou. There is also a speed limit of six knots off most of the bathing beaches in Herm and at Rosaire anchorage. Click below for more information.
Guernsey Coastguard provides emergency cover when required and maintains a 24-hour watch on VHF Channel 16.
VHF DF bearings can also be provided on VHF channels 16 or 67 (after initial call on 16). The aerial position for D/F purposes is 49˚ 26.27'N, 02˚ 35.77'W.
The normal working frequency of Guernsey Coastguard is VHF Channel 20 (direct calling).
Guernsey VTS works VHF Channels 12 and 62.
VHF Channels 12 and 62 should be monitored by mariners entering / exiting St Peter Port and St Sampson's harbours so vessel operators are aware of any impending commercial movements and is not to be used for berthing information and general enquiries.
Guernsey Coastguard maintains a 24 hour watch on DSC VHF Channel 70. You can test your equipment with us by sending a routine call.
A typical DSC routine VHF message is sent as follows:
Follow your sets instruction and enter in the MMSI number for Guernsey Coastguard ( 002320064 ) or which ever coastguard station you require and press SEND.
Once we receive your DSC message we will acknowledge it and will select which VHF channel we would like you to initiate a voice call on. Your set will automatically switch to the desired VHF channel. Wait for your set to display the channel response from the coastguard (VHF Channel 20 for Guernsey Coastguard) and call us:
"Guernsey Coastguard, Guernsey Coastguard this is ______________________ MMSI 123456789, over."
We will respond as usual and advise you that we received your DSC.
A Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number is only issued to vessels fitted with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) and/or (Satellite) Ship Earth Station (SES) equipment.
In order to get an MMSI number you will need to be in possession of a valid Ship Radio Licence from Ofcom.