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The following is quoted/adapted from "Monitoring AMVER Traffic" written by Jim Navary From SPEEDX Utility Notes V4 num9 edited by RIch Baker

Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System

AMVER (Automated Mutual-Assistance Vessel Rescue System) is a system for worldwide tracking of ocean going merchant vessels primarily for safety purposes.

Most utility monitors who have done any maritime monitoring at all have at one time or another stumbled upon a ship sending an AMVER message. Vessels can, and do transmit these reports on all three of the normal modes used in the HF bands: voice (USB), CW, and radioteletype (SITOR-A/ARQ) (Most likely now on PACTOR systems}. This short article will attempt to provide a brief introduction to AMVER and to give those who are not already familiar with the contents of an AMVER report a few clues as to the meaning of these coded messages.

While participation in AMVER is mandatory for certain U.S. Flag vessels (1,000 gross tons or more, operating in foreign commerce), other merchant vessels, regardless of flag, origin, or destination that are 1,000 gross tons or larger and are on a voyage longer than 24 hours are welcome to participate.

Message Types

There are five types of AMVER reports:

  • Sailing Plans
  • Departure
  • Arrival
  • Position
  • Deviation reports.

Each line in an AMVER report starts with a line identifier which is either the word AMVER or a single letter. The line identifier and the data items on the line are each separated from each other by a single slash (/). Lines are terminated by a double slash (//). The first line of an AMVER report identifies the type of report being sent:

  • AMVER/SP//=sailing plan
  • AMVER/PR//=departure report, with or without sailing plan information. Also used for position report.
  • AMVER/FR//=arrival report
  • AMVER/DR//=deviation report.

AMVER Message Example

The best way to explain the contents of an AMVER report is probably through use of an example:

//L/RL/140/4010N/02620E/062300Z//M/GKA/GKM//V/MD/NURSE//X/NEXT REPORT


  • AMVER line/SP// (required)
  • Line A/vessel name/international callsign (required)
  • Line B/intended date-time of departure (required) (month may or may not be provided)
  • Line E/current course (optional)
  • Line F/estimated average speed in knots and tenths without the decimal - i.e., 12.6 knots (optional)
  • Line G/port of departure/latitude/longitude (required)
  • Line I/port of destination/latitude/longitude (required)
  • Line L/navigation method [RL=rhumb line, GC=great circle]/leg speed in knots/latitude/longitude/date-time. As many lines may be sent as is appropriate for plotting the course to the destination. Leg speed is optional, otherwise required.
  • Line M/current coastal radio station guarded/next station guarded (optional)
  • Line V/medical resources on board (optional)
  • Line X/up to 65 characters of amplifying comments (optional)

Each of the different types of reports can vary as to the optional or required elements.

As you can see, AMVER reports are great for us radio eavesdroppers. They provide a full identification of the vessel, both name and callsign, and all sorts of other good information about the voyage.

Related Links

Written by Jim Navary From SPEEDX Utility Notes V4 num9 edited by RIch Baker