If you’re planning on going out for fishing on your boat or yacht, or go to a remote zone or sea, you definitely need take your safety as well as preparedness more seriously. One of the best equipment you can use in case you require emergency assistance while onboard is a marine or boating VHF radio.
A VHF or very high frequency radio is a communication device commonly used by marines and boaters that will allow you to pass both voice and digital information to other boat riders, marinas, harbor guard, rescue urgency teams, and other people in times of emergencies. Marine and boating radios are very useful especially when you’re in faraway places and uncomfortable situations occur such as boat engine malfunctions, yacht capsizing, or if you’re facing an unexpected harsh weather.
There are two types of VHF radios, handheld and fixed mount. Handheld radios are best for smaller boats because they are portable and they lack a battery source. They also have compact size making them more portable during emergencies. They have a 5-mile restricted range and when you use a rechargeable lithium ion battery in them, they will be able to provide a longer battery life.
Fixed mount radios on the other hand, are designed for bigger boats and they are able to provide a larger range due to their extra power capabilities. They can also ensure a better communication because it can be set up as dual stations and navigate using GPS, plus, you can install a microphone to it. Also, it has a DSC calling capability which will enable you to alert other boats, shore stations, and rescue boats at the press of a button.
Where to Buy
BaoFeng Handheld VHF Radio
High / Med / Low Power Settings (8W, 4W, 1W); Frequency Range: 65-108 MHz(Only commercial FM radio reception) VHF: 136-174 MHz(Rx/Tx). UHF: 400-520 MHz(Rx/Tx); Broad (Wide) / Narrowband (Narrow) Selectable
Uniden Handheld VHF Radio
Simultaneously monitor up to two Coast Guard Distress/Hailing, one weather, and one regular marine channel
Cobra Electronics Fixed Mount VHF Radio
25 watts of power output with access to US, International and Canadian channels
Standard Horizon GX1700W GPS VHF Marine Radio
All scanning functions including Programmable, Priority Scan and Dual Watch
By using VHF radios, you will be able to call anybody because they tend to have reliable network coverage even in places with poor network. So if you want to level up your safety on your next boating adventure, here are some of the best marine and boating VHF radios we found that you may like.
This handheld VHF radio has twice as much power, stronger radio shell, larger battery, and an improved antenna compared to its previous models. This is one of the best handheld dual band VHF radios available in the market.
This VHF radio has a 25-mile range and you can upgrade it with a performance aftermarket antenna to increase its performance. The only downside of the BaoFeng radio is it’s not waterproof. But you can simply keep it in a dry bag when not in use.
This is a waterproof VHF radio that can be submerged in water for about 5 minutes and a half. It also has a larger display screen compared to other models, making the information more readable. Its power ratings are also switchable from 1, 2.5, and 5 watts of transmitting power.
The battery length of this handheld radio is only 12 hours, but it has a Clip-On DC charger that provided fast charging. If you like to go on adventurous water activities, then this is the best VHF radio for you.
This fixed mount VHF radio is effective in delivering short or long range communication due to its selectable 1 or 25-watt output. It features an adjustable backlight for clearer visibility and as well as a dual watch. It can also update you with all 10 NOAA weather radio information as well as give you weather alerts from the USA, Canada, and international channels round the clock for a safer sailing.
This is another marine radio that is best for those who are fanatics of adventuring into the waters. It will be able to connect you to 12 channels because it has a GPS that is built into its front panel. You can easily switch from position sharing, DCS calling to way point navigation, while enabling you to distress calls at the same time. You can also mount this VHF radio anywhere you want because of its rear case design that gives you flexibility as well as help you save space on the dash.
This is a portable and efficient marine radio. It has the ability to reduce the effect of background noise especially when you’re under a bad network. It can easily transmit signal and catch voice communication.
Where to Buy
Uniden Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radio
Orange backlit text display shows channel names, radio menu, DSC features and GPS data
Once it detects a noisy environment, it will automatically increase the volume outfit to fit with the surroundings. It is also a waterproof radio, and if you happen to drop it in water, it will stay afloat with its back up to the surface even if a speaker microphone is attached to it.
Aside from the built-in GPS and DSC functions, this handheld marine radio also has a Get Buddy feature. It enables you to send your position and distance to friends and other boaters that are linked to you on your Buddy List. If you have a lot of boating friends and you often go on water adventures, then this is the best marine radio for you.
This is a waterproof two-way radio that is durable and reliable. It has a standard water exposure time of 30 minutes, so it’s not a problem when you’re caught up holding it and it suddenly rains. It can also pick NOAA weather channels for real time updates, as well as to give you other alerts.
This marine radio has reliable rechargeable batteries, a dual desktop charger, and a 12V vehicle adapter to ensure that you keep it charged round the clock. It also has a whisper feature that even when you speak quietly, you will still be heard on the other line.
This marine radio is capable to tune into changing weather conditions. By using this radio, you will be able to keep in touch with your mates over a range of up to 50 miles. It is a lightweight marine radio that is portable and easy to hold. It is also waterproof and fully submersible, so if you drop it into the water, it will float and its functionality will not be affected. You can also use this radio to flash an SOS signal alert due to its LED flashlight feature.
This is known to be the ultimate VHF radio because it has all the features you can think of from a built in foghorn to vessel traffic. It also has a large 3.4-inch LCD that provides a clear display of GPS data, airs, DCS, and radio menus.
This fixed mount VHF radio has an integrated AIS receiver feature that displays real time AIS vessel traffic, which not found on other types of marine radios. Aside from that, it also has a last voice call recording, active noise cancelling, and advanced waterproofing levels. If you’re not on a budget, this is a premium VHF you might want to try.
This is a compact fixed mount VHF marine radio that outputs 25 watts in power. It is one of the best VHF radios for boats. It features distress buttons that will allow you to call for help in just one click in case of an emergency. It also has a high performance transceiver that will enable you to have a perfect communication while preventing any interference. It is a great VHF radio that comes with three color choices for you to get the right finish for your boat.
These are just some of the best marine and boating VHF radios we found but we hope that it will help you find the perfect one for your boat. VHF radios are one of the best devices you can have onboard to keep you safe.