For emergency and distress use channel 16. The Coast Guard and local law enforcement monitor this channel. The following channels are used in the Bay and Delta area. For a more detailed list of VHF marine radio frequencies, visit the Lauritzen Yacht Harbor website or call (925) 757-1916.
06A - Coast Guard - inter-ship safety
07A - Some harbors/commercial
09A - Bridges - This is the Primary channel for all bridges in the Delta
13A - Locks - The Montezuma Lock monitors this channel
16A - Hailing and distress-calling channel. Call others vessels on this channel, then move to a proper working channel
22A - Coast Guard: Liaison
68A, 69A, 71A, 72A, 78A - These are the proper channels to use for vessel-to-vessel communications
27, 28, 86 - Stockton Marine operator; upriver from Pittsburg
26, 84, 87 - San Francisco Marine Operator - downriver/Suisun from Martinez to San Francisco Bay and beyond
Whenever you hear the Coast Guard or other agency specify a channel like 78A (alpha), they are indicating the United States channels as opposed to the International channels. It is important to know the difference, as the two are not the same. Most newer radios have both the international and U.S. channels, so pay attention to our radio settings.
All the drawbridges in the Delta monitor marine VHF radio channel 9.
If you are uncertain about clearances or hours of operation, you can call the Rio Vista Bridge at (707) 374-2134. They can also make arrangements for after-hour openings for all the drawbridges in the Delta. Special arrangements usually need to be made at least 24 hours ahead of schedule.
Drawbridges in the Delta also respond to sound (horn) signals: one prolonged blast (4-6 seconds), followed by one short blast (1 second) sounded within reasonable hearing distance of the bridge. The drawtender will respond in kind, unless the draw cannot be opened, in which case, five short blasts will be sounded (Lauritzen's Yacht Harbor website, 2007).