IMO STANDARD MARINE COMMUNICATION PHRASES (SMCP)

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Activity – You are transiting a strait and passing a VTS reporting point. Write down the phrases that you will use to communicate the required information to the VTS. Use the IMO Standard marine communication phrases (SMCP).

SMCP stand for – IMO STANDARD MARINE COMMUNICATION PHRASES

Why we need SMCP (IMO STANDARD MARINE COMMUNICATION PHRASES)?

The Standard Marine Communication Phrases (SMCP) has been compiled: –

  • To assist in the greater safety of navigation and of the conduct of the ship,
  • To standardize the language used in communication for navigation at sea, in port-approaches, in waterways, harbours and onboard vessels with multilingual crews, and – to assist maritime training institutions in meeting the objectives mentioned above.
  • Please note – These phrases are not intended to supplant or contradict the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972.

IMO STANDARD MARINE COMMUNICATION PHRASES

Step 1 – Initiation

When it is necessary to indicate that the SMCP is to be used, the following message may be sent:

  • “Please use Standard Marine Communication Phrases.”
  • “I will use Standard Marine Communication Phrases.”

Step 2 – Spelling

To give the correct spelling we use phonetics –


phonetics – SMCP

phonetics – SMCP

Step 3 – Message Notation / format / maker

  • (i) Instruction
  • (ii) Advice
  • (iii) Warning
  • (iv) Information
  • (v) Question
  • (vi) Answer
  • (vii) Request
  • (viii) Intention

Step 3B – Distress, urgency, and safety signals

  • MAYDAY to be used to announce a distress message
  • PAN – PAN to be used to announce an urgency message
  • SÈCURITÈ to be used to announce a safety message

Step 4 – Response is started with and then your message

  • Affirmative
  • negative
  • Stand by
  • No information.

Standard organizational phrases

“How do you read (me)?”

  • “I read you …
    • bad/one with signal strength one (i.e. barely perceptible)
    • poor/two with signal strength two (i.e. weak)
    • fair/three with signal strength three (i.e. fairly good)
    • good/four with signal strength four (i.e. good)
    • excellent/five with signal strength five (i.e. very good)
  • When it is advisable to remain on a VHF Channel/frequency say: “Stand by on VHF Channel … / frequency … ”
  • When it is accepted to remain on the VHF channel/frequency indicated, say: “Standing by on VHF Channel … / frequency … ”
  • When it is advisable to change to another VHF Channel/frequency, say: “Advise (you) change to VHF Channel … / frequency … .” “Advise(you) try VHF Channel .. / frequency… .”
  • When the changing of a VHF Channel/frequency is accepted, say: “Changing to VHF Channel … / frequency … .”
  • correction / readyness and Repetition
    • Example – “My present speed is 11 knots – mistake.
      • Correction, my present speed is 12, one-two, knots.”

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