13 Best Fixed and Handheld Marine VHF Radio for 2022

13 Best Fixed and Handheld VHF Radios for 2022

Abigail ScottByAbigail Scott
Updated on 8/13/2022

A marine VHF radio is essential equipment for any sailor or boater. There are handheld units that have more adaptability, as well as fixed mounted ones that have a more fantastic range. Very high frequency, sometimes known as VHF radio, refers to the transmission and reception of marine radio communications by a line of sight. These marine products are dependable and up-to-date enough to work in the conditions present in recreational sailing and boating today, in both the United States of America and Canada, as well as in foreign waters.

VHF radio

The GMRS radio and the FR's two-way are different from the VHF. It will help if you read our guide to maritime radios, which includes explanations of how VHF works and the various benefits and drawbacks of portable radios versus permanently mounted equipment. 

MMSI and DSC are only two of the characteristics that will help make your time spent on the water safer and more pleasurable, thanks to the information provided in the Guide to VHF Marine Radios.

The answer to the question, "What is the difference between fixed and portable VHF radios?" can be summarised as follows: fixed-mounted versions transmit greater distances, run on boat batteries, and require an antenna. Handheld VHF radios do not have these requirements.

Marine VHF Radio Overview & Exercises with US Coast Guard

Are you still confused about which VHF marine radio you should get? Check out our buyer's guide if you want to know what to look for in a VHF marine radio before buying one.

Top 5 Marine VHF Radios for 2022

  • Minimalist & Fully-Fleshed: ICOM 94D with AIS
  • Excellent UX in Addition to GPS: Standard Horizon HX890
  • Highest Ranking Static Unit: ICOM M330G 31

VFH top 5

  • Effective Instrument Integration: ICOM IC-M506 21
  • Good Budget Alternative: Uniden MHS75

Each and every VHF Marine Radio We've examined

ICOM 94D with AIS

The 94D, ICOM's most recent portable device, is an absolute triumph. It is the follow-up model to the 93D, which was a tremendous commercial and critical success and was widely considered among the very best VHF radios ever made. That is the first portable VHF radio equipped with an already installed AIS receiver, and it sets a new standard for convenience.

Because it is superior to its predecessor in several essential respects, the 94D is an excellent choice for use as a primary waterway option, as a backup for ocean cruises or as a transportable unit, and as an ideal VHF to keep in your ditch bag.

The flashing feature, in addition to the tri-watch, DSC & AIS buttons, and the MOB button, contribute to an increased sense of safety and peace of mind.

ICOM 94D with AIS

It is easy to operate, and it has all the features and accessories required to guarantee the safety of water sports and other aquatic pursuits. There is a sound rationale behind the fact that sailors and people who paddle in kayaks have been praising the capabilities of this VHF.

There is never a shortage of conversation about the benefits of utilizing a chart plotter among more experienced sailors and those just starting in the maritime industry. The old phrase "can't you read a map?" does not usually represent the difficulty of sailing authenticity when there is fog or a significant quantity of boat traffic.

The 94D comes standard with a simplified navigation system, which has been present on stationary units for some time now and has become increasingly more common. We think that as a result, the safety equipment that can be used by boaters on canals and when the weather is brutal will be a substantial amount better.

Introducing the IC-M94D

An automatic identification system (AIS) will pinpoint the location of other vessels in the vicinity while simultaneously broadcasting your position to those vessels (although on AIS "B," which commercial vessels can ignore).

The 94D is both user-friendly and dependable, boasting a 1500 mW speaker that maintains its clarity even after being submerged in liquid (due to the AquaQuake and Float and Flash capabilities) and a directional control pad that makes navigating the device simple. Both of these features result from the AquaQuake and Float and Flash capabilities.

This handheld VHF marine radio is the most up-to-date model available and is most likely the best one to purchase on the market. That is taken into account in the cost.

ICOM 94D with AIS

Specifics as well as Duties

  • The output is either 1W or 6W.
  • The lithium-ion battery has a capacity of 2400 mAh (7-10 hours)
  • IPX7 stands for “protection against water.”
  • GPS: Yes
  • DSC: Yes

Our Overall Review
Not only have we conducted exhaustive tests, but we have also read assessments that have been submitted by industry pros as well as regular customers. To summarise our position on the matter in a nutshell, it is as follows:

4.8 out of 5 stars 

Justifications for Your Purchase of It:

  • The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a beautiful tool to have while standing at the ship's bow in the fog.
  • The directional control pad is an outstanding example of a checkmark.
  • Who can find the push-to-talk (PTT) button in its proper position? 
  • who can give a passing grade to the battery life.
  • Whether daytime or nighttime, the dimmable LCD panel does not make it difficult to view the displayed information.

Justifications for not making a purchase:

  • Not even close.

ICOM M94D VHF Marine Radio with DSC & AIS - M94D
Water resistance
Battery life
Easy to use

Standard Horizon HX890

This Standard Horizon maritime VHF will serve you well whether you use it as your primary marine VHF or as a secondary unit to supplement a fixed one. Their rallying cry is "Nothing takes to water like Standard Horizon," and they believe this to be true. SH is a company that has been around for half a century and offers a feature-packed and versatile VHF radio.

Standard Horizon

The HX890 is an excellent candidate to take the role of your smartphone because of its sturdy structure, user-friendliness (with an LCD screen that is simple to read), and configurable operating system. You can see why this particular VHF costs a little bit more than other units because it is equipped with an FM radio receiver, navigation assists, essential DSC, and a man overboard function (MOB), to name just a few of its many features. However, it will be well worth it in the long run, as you will have this for several years at sea. In addition, the battery has an excellent operational time of approximately 11 hours, which is not too terrible.


Details and Functions

  • Weight: 2.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 9.9 inches by 7.4 inches by 4 inches
  • Power output: 6 watts (down to 2/1 watts)
  • lithium-ion batteries that are capable of being recharged
  • Floats
    Our Overall Review
    We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.7 out of 5 stars

Reasons to purchase:

  • Unquestionably resounding tick in the box
  • A checkbox that is simple to use
  • Can make use of GPS to log position in conjunction with the check-mark on the Chartplotter
  • A check for both volume and clarity in the audio
  • In a pinch, it can run on regular alkaline batteries.

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • A tad cumbersome to operate with just one hand.

Product to be added

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ICOM M330G 31

Are you going cruising? If you need a VHF either to replace an older one or to increase your level of safety, this portable unit won't let you down in either case. Your boat will be safer for you, your family, and anybody else who might require your assistance if you have this basic yet effective radio that you can use in the United States, Canada, and international waterways. It has tri-watch channel monitoring and GPS tracking capabilities.

Icom M330G

Details and Functions

  • The product has dimensions of 6.2 by 2.6 by 6 inches.
    transmission and output of 1w/25w
  • In-house GPS equipped with a puck antenna (needs to be point skyward)
  • DSC

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.8 out of 5 stars

Reasons Why You Should Buy It:

  • Outstanding construction and a quality mark
  • The sound quality is excellent, mark
  • The inbuilt GPS makes the setup process more accessible.
  • Extremely reasonable price for such a dependable and sturdy product

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • There are now buttons in the place of the knobs that were there previously. VHF knobs are a wonderful touch for fixed mounts!
  • There is no input interface with NMEA.

ICOM IC-M506 21

When going on a cruise, it is common sense to equip your boat with a high-quality VHF radio that can mount in a fixed position. The performance of this two-way maritime radio is satisfactory. It provides the means to leave, navigate through, and return from marine trips safely (or Great Lakes adventures, for that matter). This VHF radio has an NMEA 2000 input, which allows it to connect flawlessly with other devices like a GPS to provide AIS mapping. This particular model lives up to ICOM's reputation for producing some of the most dependable radios available today.

ICOM IC-M506 21

Details and Functions

  • Thirteen inches tall, 9 inches wide, and 7 inches deep.
  • Transmission and output of 1w/25w
  • Compatible with both AIS and GPS (requires connection to Chartplotter)
  • Channels that provide information on the weather from NOAA
  • The functions of the foghorn and the hailer

Our Overall Review
We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.6 out of 5 stars

Reasons to purchase:

  • The user interface is represented 
  • Compatible with a microphone from a second station
  • Great audio

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • There is no built-in GPS
  • A tad on the pricy side

Uniden MHS75

This handheld VHF is simple but packed with features, costing less than $100. Because the Uniden brand provides reliability in a high-quality package, it isn't easy to conceive of this happening. It has a good amount of strength. While it is not genuinely compact, it is still small enough to fit in your pocket (although it does come with a clip), and the battery will offer you 10 hours of combined stand-by and conversation time. Surprisingly, it also features a triple watch feature, which enables you to monitor channels 9 and 16 while using another channel as a switch-over, making it practical and secure.

Uniden MHS75 Waterproof Handheld

Details and Functions

  • Dimensions: 6.4" x 6.2" x 3.4"
  • Weight: 1.35 lb
  • JIS8 Waterproof
  • Strength transmission of 1w, 2.5w, and 5w
  • All USA, Canada, and International Channels

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Reasons to Purchase:

  • Unbelievable cost for the quality
  • This two-way radio also comes equipped with a GMRS radio for usage on land (not requiring any license to operate)

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • It can only be charged at one docking station.
  • No NMEA 0183 Interface \scheck-mark No DSC.

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Uniden MHS335BT

This handheld marine radio comes as close as possible to cramming everything a stationary unit is capable of doing into a portable device. It is ideal for use on boats and other watercraft. This portable VHF serves all of your nautical demands in a reliable construction, beginning with the Bluetooth-compatible functions that provide additional communication (using the smartphone app) and incorporating GPS (waypoint capable).

Considering that this device also features a flashlight, compass, powerful battery, and a giant screen in its category (even more significant than the one found on the Atlantis 155), it is clear that it is superior to other goods in terms of its versatility. Additionally, it has NMEA 0183 output, allowing it to interface with various other devices on board. It is bulkier than the M93D and therefore less portable, although it has slightly expanded capabilities.

Uniden MHS335BT

Details and Functions

  • It weighs a total of 1.4 pounds.
  • The dimensions are 10 inches by 6 inches by 2.5 inches.
  • 1w/2.5w/6w transmitting power
  • IPX8 Strobe light equipped submersible device
  • Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in GPS receiver are both included.

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.3 out of 5 stars

Reasons to Purchase:

  • It comes with all of the functions that are standard on fixed units.
  • Long life of the battery
  • You now have a backup Chartplotter, thanks to the compass and GPS.
  • Good, clean audio

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • The belt clip looks like it could break easily.

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Standard Horizon HX870

Standard Horizon's HX870 is a portable radio that, much like its larger VHF brother, is highly recommended by many seamen. It is adaptable enough to function as an extension with GPS chart plotters and dependably performs its duties. Because of its high transmitting strength and the fact that it can run on AA batteries, this radio is almost as good as the more powerful fixed VHF devices in long-distance coastal sailing.

Standard Horizon's

Details and Functions

  • Dimensions: 2.44 inches tall, 5.43 inches wide, and 1.69 inches deep (without antenna)
  • Weight: 2 pounds
  • It is entirely waterproof (JIS8/IPX8) and floats on water.
  • Integrated GPS, allowing the DSC to function independently of the Chartplotter
  • Channels include ITU-R M493-13 Class D VHF, a separate track with 70 receivers, all USA, Canada, and foreign channels, and NOAA weather channels with alerts.

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Reasons to Purchase:

  • Excellent sound quality with little distortion.
  • Speedy and straightforward in its operation
  • Performs the functions of a navigator in addition to a compass and a GPS.

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • The white LCD light is glaring and uncomfortable to look at late at night.

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Uniden Atlantis 155

This inexpensive handheld VHF radio is a perfect backup for a fixed device or serves you well in a kayak, on a paddle board, or fishing within two or three miles of the beach. You may use it in any of these situations because it is portable. Despite its small size and the fact that who can easily store it in a pocket or cargo tray, it features one of the giant screens available for its category. It contains everything you require in an emergency, including a sturdy design and the ability to transmit information at a pretty reasonable price.

Uniden Atlantis 155

Details and Functions

  • The dimensions are 10.8 inches by 4.5 inches by 2 inches.
  • Weight: 1.1 lb
  • Submersible to IPX7 Pressure Waterproof
  • 1w/3w transmitting power
  • Battery life of up to ten hours at a time.

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Reasons to Purchase:

  • Crazy affordable
  • A device of astonishing portability, handy for navigating congested waterways and harbors
  • Long life of the battery

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • The low transmitting power of only 3 watts restricts the range. Hence it is best suited for coastal activities that are close to other vessels or traffic.

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Cobra MRHH350FLT

Cobra has been manufacturing two-way radios for a long time, even though this more affordable model may overshadow the three most prominent competitors. This experience is demonstrated by the MRHH350, which combines all necessary functions with a reasonable price tag.

Because of its low weight and small size, you may quickly bring it with you when you go kayaking or fishing. This device's battery is another strength, as it allows it to remain in standby mode for several days. As long as you don't intend to take this VHF radio diving with you, it will serve you very well at a fraction of the cost of comparable models.

Cobra MR HH350 FLT

Details and Functions

  • Dimensions: 4.75″ x 2.66″ x 2.09″
  • Weight: 0.59 lbs
  • Channels include those broadcast in the United States, Canada, and other countries, as well as ten NOAA weather channels complete with alerts.
  • The battery capacity of 1000 mAh lithium-ion, which provides power for approximately 10 hours of heavy use
  • Sends out 1W, 3W, and 6W signals.

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.4 out of 5 stars.

Reasons to purchase:

  • The battery performs quite well.
  • It provides you with all of the essential functions you require.
  • The pricing is nearly impossible to beat.

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • Even though it is buoyant, it is more accurate to describe it as water resistant rather than waterproof, and it will not hold up very well under water.
  • No DSC

Cobra MR HH350 FLT Handheld Floating VHF Radio
Water resistance
Battery life
Easy to use
Value for money
Sound quality

ICOM M25 21

This compact and lightweight device offers all of the required capabilities, including a tri-watch, float and flash, USB charging, and aqua-quake, which vibrates water out of the device. The pricing of this VHF makes it a unit you should get if you are unsure, even though it does not have all of the bells and whistles of higher-end devices. ICOM is known for producing high-quality goods and impressive customer service, and it also contains stations dedicated to providing weather information. This radio is a fantastic choice for the casual sailor, as a backup VHF, or as a radio for the ditch bag because it doesn't take up a lot of room, but it performs a reasonably decent job when needed.


Details and Functions

  • Weight: 1 pound
  • The dimensions are 2.23 inches by 5.28 inches by 1.2 inches.
  • 1w/5w output
  • Submersible lithium-ion battery with a maximum runtime of 11 hours IPX7

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.6 out of 5 stars.

Reasons to purchase:

  • This VHF radio, much like the M93, has a great feel in hand.
  • Condensed while maintaining its lightness
  • Exceptionally well-designed programmable interface
  • A pleasant display that makes the details easy to read
  • Reasonable in price and dependable

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • There is neither DSC nor GPS, which is expected at this pricing point.

ICOM IC-M25 21 Handheld VHF Radio - Blue Trim
Water resistance
Easy to use
Battery life


The ICOM 93D is a portable device that combines navigation and communication capabilities into a single package. It is one of the slimmest DSC-capable radios found on the market today. Even if it has been taken off the market, you should consider buying it if you come across it for sale. In any other case, keep an eye out for its successor, the 94D manufactured by ICOM.

This one is a favorite of ours because its usefulness and attention to detail regarding safety are both top-notch. The positioning of the microphone above the display considers how most boaters hold and communicate via a VHF radio. Its slender shape fits extraordinarily nicely in your hands, and the tactile experience of pressing its buttons is both rewarding and gentle. Excellent for operation with one hand, including switching channels and scrolling through the menu, and the LCD screen displays everything you ought to know, including precise coordinates and the time and date.

ICOM's well-thought-out design of this unit is continued by the battery included in the charger unit. This battery gives additional power that is independent of the grid. This device I wouldn't mind using because it combines customizable quick buttons and shortcut buttons located directly below the display.

This VHF has a little more significant price tag than the HX890, but it has just as much potential to be the best model money can buy.

Icom 2018 M93D

Details and Functions

  • Weight: 1.2 lbs
  • Dimensions: 1.2″ x 4.9″ x 2.1″
  • ITU-R M493-13 Class D class VHF, distinct channel 70 receiver; United States of America; international; Canada; weather channels
  • Power: a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 1570 mAh, which provides approximately 65 hours of monitoring use with a light communication
  • Sending out either 1W or 5W

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.3 out of 5 stars.

Reasons to Purchase:

  • It's incredible how well the functionality and ergonomic feel blend.
  • The navigation feature performs reasonably well and contributes significantly to the increased safety of the crew.
  • A display that shows everything, as well as buttons that can program for shortcuts
  • Battery as well as supplemental energy from the charging unit
  • Aqua quake to remove any moisture from the speaker and microphone.

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • Although the price precludes some people from purchasing it, there is no doubt that it is well worth the investment.

Standard Horizon GX1800GB

A trustworthy name in the industry always produces reliable goods. This two-way maritime radio with GPS capability might last you 15–20 years at a price that won't put a dent in your savings. You will receive a high-quality radio that is simple to install, operate, and can be programmed to make the type of boating you do safer. That is appropriate for a bit of fishing along the coast, more extended cruise vacations, and navigating river systems on boats of varying sizes, including those that are smaller. In certain circumstances, the capability of using a second station microphone might be pretty helpful to have.


Details and Functions

  • Dimensions of 7.5 inches by 4 inches by 10 inches 
  • GPS
  •  DSC
  •  NOAA Weather information channels are incorporated

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Reasons to Purchase:

  • A strong and distinct sound
  • I have always enjoyed the built-in GPS.
  • A user interface that is well designed and easy to navigate, including menus, knobs, and buttons.

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • There will be no NMEA connectivity.

Lowrance Link-6

In the field of fish finding, Lowrance is a well-known brand. Additionally, their chart plotters are of high quality. This VHF radio follows suit, providing you with a straightforward design that nevertheless manages to fit all required components inside. It is clear and comfortable to use the microphone, and the interface menu is organized logically. That is a relatively brilliant two-way strategy.

Lowrance Link-6

Details and Functions

  • The dimensions are 6.29 inches by 3.47 inches by 6.53 inches.
  • Channels in the United States, Canada, and other countries
  • NMEA 2000 is capable with a warranty for two years
  • DSC

Our Overall Review

We have performed extensive testing and reviewed evaluations written by both industry professionals and regular customers. In a nutshell, here is how we feel about it: 5 out of 5 stars.

Reasons to purchase:

  • For ease of use and a more direct experience, the interface should not have an excessive number of buttons.
  • Because of its ergonomic form, the microphone unit is comfortable to hold.
  • It is simple to attach using the gimbal mount that is included with the VHF.

Reasons NOT to purchase:

  • It's possible that what overlooked the option to add a second station.

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Guide to VHF Radio Operation

Even though it covers many of the same topics as a traditional VHF training class, this guide is not intended to take its place.

VHF Marine Radio: What Is It?

The very high frequency (VHF) radio system is a line-of-sight, two-way communication system that can use to communicate from ship to ship as well as ship to shore. 

A very high frequency (VHF) marine radio is an essential piece of equipment that must be carried on a boat when venturing beyond the confines of a bay or maneuvering in congested harbors. Only ships over 65 feet are required to have one, even though it is necessary for passenger protection. Mariners have been utilizing specialized marine radios since the 1920s to avoid potentially hazardous circumstances and respond appropriately to SOS distress calls.

VFH radio

By using frequencies that have been predetermined for specific purposes, boats can send signals of distress, inquire about tides, currents, and reefs, inquire about the circumstances of the port (including guest slips), and get weather alerts. Because of this, the most critical channels to monitor or not for banter are as there cannot be two vessels transmitting simultaneously. There are four channels where a conversation unrelated to boat safety can occur.

Boaters navigating through canals should also contact beforehand to find out the heights of bridges so that they do not end up in the newest video that goes viral showing ships colliding with bridges.

RNLI Kayaking Tips: Calling for Help

The information compiled here should serve as a caution.

Marine Radios: What's the Difference Between Handheld and Fixed Mount VHF Units?


  • The portability is suitable for ten miles with the Coast Guard or two to three miles between other vessels.
  • Sufficient for sailing in coastal waters and for a limited amount of cruising
  • Some radios can float.
  • A reliable alternative if the boat's power is lost.
  • 5 or 6 watts of maximum power
  • Characteristics of a lower-priced emergent

Handheld VHF vs Fixed Mount VHF Marine Radios

Fixed Mount

  • The battery source is just as reliable as the boat's electricity.
  • The transmit power (up to 25W) and the range can be increased: to 25–30 miles, with the Coast Guard providing coverage up to 60 miles.
  • Some of them can be utilized as public address systems.
  • A backup push-to-talk unit is available for use.
  • Some of them have AIS, and some devices can display you where you are about other ships via radar.

Due to the widespread availability of VHF marine radios and an increase in the number of recreational sailors, there is a bewildering selection of seats on the market, each of which can be purchased for a different amount of money. To begin, sailors are responsible for determining the particular VHF model required.

Fixed marine radios and portable marine radios both perform the same function; however, fixed marine radios can use an antenna that is mounted on a mast, which results in a more extended range for transmission and reception and, in general, a more reliable power supply (the boat's).

To put it another way, a stationery set can do far more work than a mobile device without the risk of its battery dying.

Marine VHF Radio Basics- Fixed Mount VS Handheld

On the other hand, the batteries of a portable marine radio can be replaced or refilled using solar panels. However, the storms of a fixed VHF radio that relies on a boat's power are rendered worthless if the marine battery dies. This is because a limited VHF radio runs on a boat's electricity.

While some mariners would rely only on their cellular phones for communication, others will carry a fixed set and a more affordable portable VHF with them at all times. It is always a good idea to have backup plans, but this is especially true when traveling on the sea because cell phone reception worsens the farther you are from land.

A DCS is what?


Invest in a maritime radio equipped with a DCS. that will include the digital selective calling (DSC) function on the vast majority of newly manufactured handheld VHF radios and virtually all factory-installed VHF radios. A DSC can automatically transmit a "mayday" call for assistance and also can ask for the location of a friend's boat.

If an MMSI number has been registered to the vessel, pressing a DSC button will cause an automatic SOS to be broadcast on multiple channels (2, 4, 6, 8, 12, and 16) simultaneously. However, this will only occur if the MMSI number has been associated with the vessel. By communicating precise coordinates to the Coast Guard and any other ships in the area that are within range, a DSC signal will make it much simpler to perform a rescue.

A DSC-enabled device will also continuously monitor for transmissions on channel 70, receiving them and skipping across any channels to play a distress signal when activated by other vessels within range.


Look at this animated explanation of how different emergencies are handled with a VHF radio.

Get an MMSI

Get an MMSI. An MMSI number, also known as a Maritime Mobile Service Identity number, is a one-of-a-kind identifier that can assign to any VHF-DSC marine radio. This number functions similarly to a telephone number. Before an MMSI has been registered, the DSC function won't initiate the transmission of a distress signal.

MMSI makes it possible for specific maritime radios, such as the Standard Horizon HX870, to communicate in groups when equipped with this feature.


Some VHF devices feature built-in GPS receivers or connect with a ship's Chartplotter to embed accurate coordinates in the event of an emergency. That allows responding boats and the coast guard to know precisely where to go. It should go without saying that making a false mayday call would result in a substantial fine and social embarrassment; therefore, you should only press the Mayday button if your ship is on fire or requires immediate medical assistance. If your motor has failed and you find yourself stuck, tune in to channel 16.

You can obtain an MMSI in the United States for no cost if you are a member of BoatUS, Sea Tow Service International, Inc., or for a fee of $25 through Shine Micro. Alternatively, you may be eligible to receive an MMSI for no cost through the United States Power Squadrons.

Using Handheld VHF Radios | Basics for Kayak Fishing

An MMSI can be obtained free of charge in Canada by visiting the website of Industry Canada or one of their physical locations.

Once inputted, an MMSI cannot easily be altered on a different model after it has been registered to a specific vessel. When joining up, you will need to provide a vessel identification number and the names and phone numbers of people to call in case of an emergency. Caution is strongly advised!!! It will be challenging to change your MMSI number once you have plugged it in, so check that it is the correct code before proceeding.

What exactly is meant by the abbreviation AIS (Automatic Identification System)?

An AIS shows the activity conducted by commercial vessels inside a specific area. This includes one's heading and speed about one's position, and it will come in handy while navigating through tight rivers or sailing into larger ports.

An AIS is reliable for preventing collisions when traveling through major commercial maritime routes. When another vessel registered with AIS is getting close to your location, a VHF equipped with AIS will sound an alarm and beep.

vFH marina

It is mandatory for ships with a gross tonnage of more than 300 they have an Automatic Identification System (AIS) that can communicate a variety of information, such as the ship's speed (SOG), draught, name, and course (COG). These vessels are considered to be of Class A, which can aid in the avoidance of any accidents.

Class B AIS is not as expensive, and they are built into some VHF radios intended for recreational usage. In hazy conditions, these units offer a comprehensive picture of every significant vessel and every vessel equipped with AIS technology.

VHF Marine Antennas

What does it mean when an antenna has a specific DB rating? Every antenna has a dB value, which tells you how focused the antenna's signal transmission is and what shape its emissions take. If the signal is delivered from a steady platform using an antenna with a higher dB rating, the signal form will become more focused in more little bursts, increasing range.

VFS Radio

When waves cause, a smaller boat to heel over, transmitting a signal with a higher dB level will be interrupted more frequently. Even antennas mounted on sailboats, which have a greater height than other boats, may benefit from having lower dB ratings.

Remember to Keep This in Mind Regarding the Radio, the Antenna, and the Coaxial Cable
Let's say you're interested in doing some offshore cruising, the kind of sailing where you take your ship far from land and spend days at a time without seeing any land. The purchase of a powerful VHF radio with a fixed mount makes perfect sense; nevertheless, if you do not have at least a 6db antenna and the thickest coaxial cable connecting it to your 25W transmitting unit, you will not receive the range that you anticipate.

Critical VHF Marine Radio Frequencies

Channel 9 and channel 16 are the two VHF frequencies that boaters and sailors should focus on monitoring the most. Channel 16 is the SOS frequency, the international hailing, and the distress frequency. It is also the channel through which coast guard and weather notifications will be delivered. Channel 9 is used for vital communication between vessels.

VFH marina

Channel 16 is not to be used for meaningless chitchat. Even if you phone the coast guard on 16, they will almost always ask you to switch to another frequency.

If you are getting close to a marina and are unsure what radio frequency to "call them," turn to channel 68, and you will be in contact with someone who can provide you with information regarding, for instance, guest slips and water conditions.

What does the abbreviation SOS stand for?

A backronym is a word that reads the same, both forwards and backward. SOS is an example of such a word. In morse code, three dots produce the letter "S," and three dashes make the letter "O." who can repeat this rapidly until someone hears the easily identifiable broadcast that everyone knows is the international appeal for assistance.

Marine VHF for Sea Kayakers

Tips for Better VHF Use

  • Always keep a close eye on Channel 16
  • Register an MMSI
  • Keep in mind that fixed sets require an antenna.
  • Charge your portable device, and make sure you have backup batteries.
  • Please refrain from using foul language while transmitting, and keep any chitchat to the appropriate channels.
  • If you want the DSC to work, you need to connect the unit to the GPS as soon as feasible.
  • Listen to What's on the Air

Check the radio to make sure it is operating correctly. Within the United States, there is currently a great deal of automated radio check systems that have been installed on a variety of channels. Broadcast the phrase "radio check, radio check, over" on one of the channels that have been assigned to you, and then listen to how well who can hear you.

You can receive a radio check in Canada by calling on channel 9; you can switch to one of the frequencies designated explicitly for recreational use.

Observe one of the presentations.

What exactly do ratings for waterproofness mean?

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JIS "0" There is no additional protection

JIS "1" Water that is allowed to drop down from above is not allowed to have any negative consequences (Drip resistant 1)

JIS "2" There shall be no adverse effect caused by water dripping at an angle of up to 15 degrees from the vertical (Drip resistant 2)

JIS "3" Rain that falls at an angle that is up to sixty degrees off vertical will not have any adverse effects (Rain resistant)

JIS "4" The splashing of water in any direction shall not produce any harmful effects (Splash resistant)


JIS "5" There will be no adverse effect caused by water being sprayed directly from any direction (Jet resistant)

Water must not be sprayed directly into the enclosure by JIS Standard 6 from any direction (Watertight)

JIS "7" When the enclosure is submerged in water following the circumstances provided, water is not allowed to enter the chamber (Immersion resistant)

JIS "8" The apparatus is suitable for use in water at a constant submersion pressure for an extended period (Submersible)

In addition to radio tests, there are additional antenna/VHF testers that assess the strength of the signal for both incoming and outgoing transmissions.

Prices range anywhere from $30 to $250 for one item. It is unnecessary to spend more money on a more expensive model as long as periodic radio checks with real people are carried out.

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On the other hand, if radio checks are performed over the air with automated services or with other boats, the cost of a tester might not be necessary.

Some Marine VHF Radio Lingo

It may not be easy to comprehend one another depending on the quality of the connection between the units, which the VHF models and antennae govern in play. When you look at the list of nautical flags, which is effectively an alphabet, you will see flags like "whiskey" that symbolize the letter "W." There is a corresponding morse code for each of these as well.

Marine VHF for Sea Kayakers

Please refer to the nautical flags handbook for further information on this topic. In any case, the following is a selection of common VHF expressions:

"Could you please give me a radio check-over?"
To verify your unit's signal strength and clarity, you should contact the coast guard on channel 16. They will probably inquire about changing to a different medium, such as 67 or 68.

5-5 Second World War communications speech shows the intensity of the signal on a scale of 1-5; and the clarity of the transmission on a scale of 1-5.

Over \sBreak. Used to signify the end of a phrase while also freeing up the frequency for further transmission and letting other unit operators know they can now respond.

Roger Indicates understanding. That's fair enough, which is another way of saying, "I get it."

Where do you stand on the matter of the Request location?


Over and out, This brings an end to our discourse.

Pan Pan: Digital Satellite Communications (DSC) is equivalent to issuing a distress call. Only resort to this when you're in the deepest of trouble.

If you have a marine VHF radio already, or if you just got one, please share your experience with it by leaving a remark in part below designated for such comments.