Maritime VHF Channels Are Changing

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Maritime radio channels will be changing on or around 1 October 2016

On 1 October 2016 New Zealand, along with a number of other countries, is required to change a number of maritime VHF repeater channels. These changes are being made to make space for newly allocated services for international ship tracking and data services which will ensure New Zealand VHF radio services are compatible with the rest of the world.

The changes will largely affect Coastguard VHF and NowCasting channels.

It's important to note that although some maritime channels will be changing, the existing marine Channel 16 used for safety and distress purposes will NOT change.

No one should need to buy a new VHF Radio to access the new VHF or NowCasting channels. All current VHF radios will be able to access the new channels, Once the switch has been made, the old channel will immediately become obsolete – there will be no simultaneous running of both channels.


  1. You will not need a new VHF Radio to access the new channels
  2. Channel 16 – the marine distress channel is not changing
  3. Current channels are effective up until 1 October, 2016
  4. New channels will take effect from or around 1 October, 2016 (or once the work has been completed on each repeater site)
  5. See the VHF or NowCasting map for changes in your area.

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