…The storm took away our ability to reach the outside world – no cell phones, no internet, no way, even, to reach my friends down the road. I had no plan for my family abroad to learn if I’d survived. The only people on whom I could rely were the strangers who lived around my immediate neighborhood.
Since the earliest explorers went to sea, the communications protocol for mariners is “call and response” – every communication that is made is acknowledged as received and understood. Lives may be at stake so knowing how to communicate in distress is critical. We also know that whenever we set sail, we have to keep our VHF radios tuned to Channel 16. It is the universal emergency channel, kept clear of traffic from everyone other than hailing calls, and is monitored by the Coast Guard for emergencies. It is also used by the Coast Guard to communicate urgent information to anyone who might be in the vicinity of a boat needing assistance. At sea, communication that is understood and received can literally save lives. In normal times, it’s also an important measurement of our ability to lead.