The Recreational Mariner's Guide

2. Norway



Almost the entire mainland coast has comprehensive and clear VHF coverage. The rare exceptions are areas deep within fjords with high shores. Since most of the shore station VHF aerials are situated on high mountains, the coverage extends surprisingly far offshore. 

There is very little traffic on channel 16 in Norwegian waters so it isn’t onerous—and it is required—to keep a listening watch for weather and navigation warnings.

In Norway, unlike many countries, initial contact should be made on the correct working channel for your location. If, after trying a couple of times, you can’t make contact on the working channel, call on channel 16, but be sure to give details of your position so the operator can select the correct relay station. After initial contact on 16 you will be directed to a working channel.

Coast Radio Contact Information

Coast radio stations can be used to make VHF-to-telephone link calls; however, this is expensive and a mobile phone (see below) will be a cheaper and easier option, albeit with shorter range. If you do wish to use this VHF service you will need to establish an account with an accounting authority, preferably before leaving your home country. Contact your country’s communications authority for a list of approved accounting authorities.

Norwegian coast stations are fully DSC (Digital Selective Calling) equipped and you can even make a telephone patch call with DSC.

Even if you don’t intend to use DSC, make sure you have a MMSI number (available from your local communications authority).

All services provided by a coast radio station, including providing a requested weather forecast, will be charged to the vessel. This may be waived if fulfilling your request is not too onerous and it doesn’t happen too often.

Coast Radio has been consolidated into two main stations, with numerous automated relay stations:

  • Norwegian Coast Radio South covers from the Swedish border to Rørvik (65°N) (Volumes 2 and 3)
  • Norwegian Coast Radio North covers from Rørvik (65°N) to the Russian border and also covers parts of the Barents Sea through relay stations on Bear Island and Spitsbergen (Volumes 3, 4 and 5)

The two coast radio stations are located in the same premises as the two Joint Rescue Coordination Centres, JRCC South Norway and JRCC North Norway.

Single Side Band Radio (SSB)

Medium frequency service (MF) is available from Norwegian coast radio stations. High frequency service (HF) has been discontinued for mainland Norway. 

Because of the range and coverage of VHF, there is no reason to use SSB when cruising mainland Norway.

Mobile (Cell) Phones

Norway is part of the “roam like home” network for residents of Europe.

Options for non-European cruisers:

  • Use your own phone with your regular plan, but make sure you check with your provider for their international roaming and data roaming charges.
  • Purchase a SIM or eSIM for use in Norway, with your own phone if your provider will unlock it, or with a new phone. There are numerous options, so we recommend you do your research prior to leaving for Norway.

Important numbers:

  • Fire 110
  • Police 112
  • Medical emergency 113
  • Rescue Centre South +(47) 51 69 00 44
  • Rescue Centre North +(47) 75 52 89 25
  • Emergency call to nearest coast radio station 120

Satellite Phones

Due to the excellent mobile phone coverage found in mainland Norway, a satellite phone is not required for voice or data.