It sure pays to know what it is you are doing before you dive into it.
Here are some things that you should consider:
- Your VHF marine radio must be waterproof. Only VHF radios designed for the sea will be able to withstand the marine environment.
- Make sure that your marine VHF radio has the ability to float, if your boat capsizes, your life just might depend on it.
- Make sure to visit a specialist marine retailer to talk about the best VHF radio for your boating adventure, but you should think about these:
- Ease of use: In case of an emergency, the time that it takes to send a distress signal with your location and identity, can make a big difference to the outcome.
- Display visibility: you should take the radio outside so that you can check the display’s readability (a large display with a minimum reflection glare is advised).
- Power: A radio with more power (usually rated in watts) would help to increase the chances if your radio’s signal being heard.
- Battery: you should ensure that it has a good battery life, note that the transmission time (the time you use to talk) is shorter than the stand-by time.
- Audio: The more milliwatts (mW), the louder the volume, and this is more important when you take into consideration the wind, waves, and the engine noise. You should check the sound quality by tuning into the weather band.
- GPS: An inbuilt GPS gives extra safety and navigational abilities (not all VHF radios have GPS that are inbuilt).
- If your boat is big enough to have a fixed VHF radio, then you should consider getting one as well as a handheld, they usually have a substantially longer range because of the increased aerial height.
- Handheld VHF radios are perfect for kayaks, dinghies, and powerboats. They usually come with various clips, lanyards, and bands for wearing on belts and lifejackets, or for attaching to your wrist.