Vhf Marine Radios

Written by Beth Hrusch
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VHF marine radios are the recommended means of two-way communication when out on the water. VHF stands for very high frequency, and contains channels that are tuned to emergency and informational messages put out by the Coast Guard, NOAA and other boaters. In fact, the Coast Guard monitors these channels 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, thus helping to ensure boater safety.

VHF Marine Radios Keep Boaters Safe

Boaters can get VHF radios as either fixed or portable models. Regardless of which is chosen, it is important to be aware of the fact that VHF frequency needs to relay back to an antenna to work, and therefore no VHF radio can be more than 25 miles from an antenna station in order to be effective. Handheld models have a shorter effective range, closer to five miles.

All boaters should know the channels that will give them information and allow them to communicate. Channel 16 is recognized around the world as the emergency and calling channel. When hailing another vessel, channel 9 is used. Channels 22 is for emergency transmissions once the Coast Guard has been contacted. Weather channels and non-emergency channels are also available. Some high-end VHF marine radios come equipped with a mayday button that will put out a distress call and transmit the boat's location.

When far from shore, VHF marine radios offer a lifeline to shore and other vessels, as well as away to communicate important information. They keep boaters apprised of weather conditions and can help other vessels locate a craft in distress. Using VHF frequencies, these radios help boaters stay safe and enjoy their time knowing that help is just a call away.

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