Navtex (Navigational Telex) is an international automated medium frequency direct-printing service for delivery of navigational and meteorological warnings and forecasts, as well as urgent maritime safety information to ships.
The NAVTEX system is used for the automatic broadcast of localised Maritime Safety Information (MSI) using Radio Telex (also known as Narrow Band Direct Printing, or NBDP).
Navtex was developed to provide a low-cost, simple, and automated means of receiving this information aboard ships at sea within approximately 370 km (200 nautical miles) off shore.The system mainly operates in the Medium Frequency radio band just above and below the old 500 kHz Morse Distress frequency.
There are no user fees associated with receiving navtex broadcasts, as the transmissions are typically transmitted from the National Weather Authority (Italy) or Navy or Coast Guard (as in the US) or national navigation authority (Canada).
Where the messages contain weather forecasts, an abbreviated format very similar to the shipping forecast is used.
Navtex is a component of the International Maritime Organization/International Hydrographic Organization, Worldwidw Navigation Warning Service (WWNWS). Navtex is also a major element of the Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS). International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) mandated certain classes of vessels must carry navtex, beginning August 1, 1993.
The NAVTEX system is designed to be used in GMDSS Sea Area A2, and is utilised mainly by those countries with relatively small areas of coastline and/or sea areas to cover.
Major areas of NAVTEX coverage include the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, coastal areas around Japan and areas around the North American continent.
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