Funniest VHF radio transmission you've ever heard?!

What’s the funniest or most interesting VHF radio transmission you’ve ever heard while sailing?

At anchor in New York I heard a very angry tug boat captain yelling on 16 how he had right of way because he was downbound with a following current.

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First class cadet on the Empire State thought he was somebody off the US east coast one night talking to a fishing boat.

“Cap, can I get you to turn down those halogens?”

“Cap, can I get you to go fuck yourself?”


The best one’s in my book are those that take place between the forward helm and the aft helm. Sometimes lasting several transmissions before they discover that they are talking to different ends of the same boat!

This has never happened to me, of course. I’m only relaying stories from other watch officers…


Working on a Harbor Tug in Corpus Christi, it’s the zero dark thirty hours of the morning and I heard one of the local Push Boats.

“Gracey May, Doubled up headed out bound, Gracey May doubled up headed out- Gracey May out.”
-Silence followed by-
“What was the name of that boat again?”

“Once again, Gracey May doubled up headed out bound-Gracey May.”

-More silence followed by another Captain-

“I don’t think I quite caught that name, What was it again?”


Listening to the New England yankee tug captains trying to understand the coonass cajun tug captains and vice versa in NY harbor. I have jumped in and translated a time or 2. :rofl:


This is of course apocryphal and has made the rounds on the internet recently but it’s still funny …

A radio conversation between a British Naval Ship and Irish Radio operator off the coast of Kerry, Oct 95.

Irish Operator: Please divert your course 15 degrees to the South, to avoid a collision.

British: Recommend you divert your course 15 degrees to the North, to avoid a collision.

Irish: Negative. You will have to divert your course 15 degrees to the South to avoid a collision.

British: This is the captain of a British navy ship. I say again, divert your course.

Irish: Negative. I say again, You will have to divert your course.

British: This is the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. I demand that you change your course, 15 degrees north, I say again, that is 15 degrees north, or counter-measures will be undertaken to ensure that safety of this ship.

Irish: We are a lighthouse. Your call.


After passing through the Strait of Gibraltar, listening to ships on 16

Ship A: “Ship B this is Ship A” (respectful, normal tone)

Ship B: “Go ahead sir this is ship B”

Ship A: “Yes, who are you? Who the fuck do you think you are!? The last 2 nights you’ve drifted less than 100m from me! Go fuck yourself you stupid fucking prick, fuck off and leave me the fuck alone!”

VHF is absolutely lawless in the Persian gulf as well. Great entertainment


I heard this one told by a Brit.
Indeed, there it was not the ‘HMS Invincible’ but the entire USN 6th Fleet.

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Not VHF but SITOR. QE2 casino manager telling the office that if they will book discounted passages they can’t expect to get a lot of high rollers on board.

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On the drill rig we would record the time in nonstop conversation the 3rd world captians could make excuses why they couldnt come alongside.
Indians top of the class for this.

“We watched one guy do his drift test then slowly come in but stop about 150m away only to listen to 15minutes of non stop crap whist he tried to say the current is different at the rig than outside the 500.”

99% of the time its because half his thrusters are not working.
So we always ask for a photo of the thrust page, most are unable to comply…
New captain every time we see the boat.

My all time favorite is a mate who when calling other traffic on the radio, would routinely say something like: “Vessel on my starboard beam this is so and so…”

Thank you all for your responses, MY experience was deleted by a moderator.

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Might have shared this before -

On the USCGC Sherman in the Bering sea - we get a mayday

I pull out the Checklist
" what is your position" - Answer
" POB" - Answer
" Nature of your distress" - We are on fire
I keep going - 5-6 more questions - getting answers but hearing more and more frustration
“Capt - what is the color of your vessel” - Why do you need that?
“To help identify you Captain” - Identify me, identify me - I am the only F*(%^ing boat out here on fire


I may have posted this one before in another thread:
A panicked voice comes on 16, it is what sounds like an elderly woman yelling MAYDAY.
The CG comes on and asks what the nature of her distress is.
She states her husband has fallen overboard, is injured, and she can’t get him back on the boat. She did manage to throw a line to him at least.
She has no idea where she is. The CG asks her a lot of questions she cannot answer. Some other boats jump in and start asking questions. One guy is smart enough to ask where they live and what road they took to the marina. Over the course of about 30 minutes everyone gradually traces out her path and figures out where she probably is.
Then she says this: “Should I stop the boat? My husband is having a hard time hanging on to the line.”
She had been dragging the poor guy along THE WHOLE TIME!!!
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

  • happy ending, she turned off the boat, someone found her, got the husband aboard, and took them home :slight_smile:

Back in the 1980s I was on a Tug taking a load of grain to Nigeria . We had a brand new mate right out of the Academy , I dont think he wanted to be on that Tug but it was the only job he could find . We crossed the Atlantic and were somewhere of Africa 200-300 hundred miles . It was April 1st so DRed the position about 4 hours ahead a took a handheld to my cabin . I got up 4 hours later and called with a accent asking him what he was doing in the restricted area and told him stand by to be boarded etc. He was not taking it well went and got the the Captain ( who was in on it ) who said you got us in to this you get us out . The Chief Engineer was on the bridge he is yelling he sees a periscope , the whole crew was enjoying it . The poor mate is bouncing off the bulkheads . I finally said Happy April Fools day .He was not amused with joke .


In Galveston Bay:
“This is Coast Guard 5589 calling the tanker Hellespont Alhambra
“This is Coast Guard 5589 calling the tanker Hellespont Alhambra
“This is Coast Guard 5589 calling the tanker Hellespont Alhambra
Voice with southern accent comes over speaker. You can hear seagulls and the thud of a small diesel. You know it’s a shrimp boat.
“Come in there, Coast Guard.”
“This is Coast Guard 5589 back to the vessel calling.”
“Y’all are pronouncing the name of that vessel all wrong.”
“This is Coast Guard 5589, would you provide the correct pronunciation please?”
“Yeah. You’re supposed to say 'fahv, favh, ait, nan.”


Outbound on a day with very strong north wind. I hear a pilot coming out of an east-west channel with a ship in ballast. It’s a hairpin turn and going to be difficult to turn into the wind with the bow almost out of the water. He wants a tug made up on the bow.
“Come in Juno. I need you to make up on the port bow.”
“Can you slow down a little captain? I’m having a hard time getting up there.”
“I’m only making 8 knots. If I slow down I’ll be blown out of the channel.”
Quiet for a bit.
“Juno, I really need you to get up there before the turn.”
“I got her hooked up, captain. We’re stuck by your quarter.”
“I worked on that tug for 10 years. I know what she can do. Get your ass up there.”
“I’m trying.”
Quiet for a bit.
“Well, you oughta be able to catch me now you son of a bitch.”


Because the bow was stuck in the mud? Still need a tug either way :roll_eyes:

Matagorda Bay, Texas.
“Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!!!
This is the Half Pint. Mayday.”
“This is Coast Guard Station Port O’Connor to the vessel calling Mayday - what is the nature of your distress?”
“We are hard aground near marker 6. Been trying to back off and can’t!!”
“What is the description of your vessel?”
“White, 18 foot Boston Whaler!!”
“This is Coast Guard Station Port O’Connor. Have you tried to get out and push the boat off?”
Quiet for a bit.
“Thank you, Coast Guard.”