Best Marine and Boating VHF Radios

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.

Marine and Boating VHF Radios

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.

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.

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
BaoFeng Handheld VHF Radio
Uniden Handheld VHF Radio
Cobra Electronics Fixed Mount VHF Radio
Standard Horizon GX1400 Eclipse Fixed Mount VHF Radio - Black
Icom M36 01 Floating Handheld Marine Radio
Lowrance Handheld Marine Radio
Midland Two-Way Radio
Uniden Submersible 50-Mile Two-Way Radio
Icom IC Fixed Mount VHF Radio
Uniden Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radio


1. 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.

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.

2. Uniden Handheld VHF Radio


Simultaneously monitor up to two Coast Guard Distress/Hailing, one weather, and one regular marine channel.

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.

3. Cobra Electronics Fixed Mount VHF Radio


25 watts of power output with access to US, International and Canadian channels.

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.

4. Standard Horizon GX1400 Eclipse Fixed Mount VHF Radio - Black


All scanning functions including Programmable, Priority Scan and Dual Watch.

This is another marine radio that is best for those who are fanatics of adventuring into the waters. This Standard Horizon GX1400 Eclipse VHF Radio with a dedicated Channel 70 transmitter that enables DSC calls to be handled while listening to transmissions. When the DSC DISTRESS function is active, it sends a digital MAYDAY message that includes vessel identity, latitude/longitude, and time (if GPS is connected) to help with a quick response. Individual, Urgent, Safety, Positioning Report, and Send are some of the other calls that can be made.

5. Icom M36 01 Floating Handheld Marine Radio


6 Watt, Submersible, Noise Cancelling Mic, Backlit LCD Display, NOAA Weather, Memory Scan

This VHF maritime radio enables short and long-range communication as well as access to NOAA weather channels in the United States, Canada, and globally at 1, 3, or 6 watts. The radio's floating shape and orange core make it easy to retrieve if it falls overboard, and it meets JIS7 (IPX7) requirements, allowing it to be submerged for 30 minutes at one meter depth.

6. Lowrance Handheld Marine Radio


Electronic Consumer. Great Quality. 

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.

7. Midland Two-Way Radio


Vibrate Alert. 9 Levels of VOX for Hands Free Operation.

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.

8. Uniden Submersible 50-Mile Two-Way Radio


142 privacy codes.Submersible to 3 Feet for 30 Minutes.

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.

9. Icom IC Fixed Mount VHF Radio


Built-in loudhailer/foghorn, NMEA 2000, and remote capability.

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.

10. 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.

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. You can also check the site for different type of radios as well.  VHF radios are one of the best devices you can have onboard to keep you safe.