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Waterway Net celebrates 50th anniversary

The marine radio operator group Waterway Net, which is sponsored by the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club, is celebrating its 50th anniversary of bringing radio amateurs together.

The radio group convenes over the airwaves every morning of the year for about an hour starting at 7:45 a.m. EST on a frequency of 7.268 MHz. The purpose of the Waterway Net is to encourage amateur radio communications to and from boats with an emphasis on safety and weather information.

A staple of the daily routine is "Position Reports." Vessels check in, helping keep liveaboards and cruising boats in touch with families and friends. Another service, "Float Plans" provides a strong measure of safety for offshore passage makers. A daily reading of weather conditions and opportunities for exchange of messages keep the net a lively spot on the radio.

Begun in the early 1960s, the Waterway Net is one of the oldest, continuously operating nets in amateur radio. Today the group has around 800 dues-paying members and anyone holding an Amateur Radio License of any class is eligible to join. Membership in the group is not a prerequisite for participation in the Waterway Net, but a general class or higher license is required.

In addition to its radio operations, members host luncheons in major boating locales; provide training and exam sessions for amateur licensing; and channel weather reports from off shore boats to the National Weather Service. Close coordination is maintained with the United States Coast Guard and the Bahamas Air Sea Rescue Association.

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