Marine Radios

Written by Beth Hrusch
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Marine radios are an essential part of a recreational boater's gear. Vessels less than 65 feet in length are not required by law to have them on board, but it is strongly recommended that one is present in case of emergency. Anyone traveling more than a few miles offshore will need to be able to keep in touch with land and other boaters. A marine radio provides two-way communication that can help avert disaster.

Marine Radios Can Save Lives

There are countless stories about boaters whose lives could have been saved if they had been apprised of weather situations in time, or if they could have communicated with another vessels when in distress. Marine radios operate on a few common channels, each one of which is used for a certain purpose. A mayday can be broadcast on channel 16. The Coast Guard sends out marine warnings on channel 9.

The average recreational boater can own and operate a marine radio without an FCC license. Exceptions include anyone traveling into international waters and those required to carry special equipment for other purposes, thus making them subject to regulation. Any marine radio should be compatible with international marine channels, which are those recognized worldwide for ship-to-ship and ship-to-shore communication.

Keeping marine radios tuned to the proper stations, and being alert to any marine warnings could mean the difference between life and death for the boater far from shore. An outdoor sporting store or marine supply store has a variety available with different options to help keep you safe on the water. Learning how to use this radio will ensure that you know what to do in case of an emergency or unexpected situation.


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