Stay Safe on the Water With a Boat Radio

A boat radio is a very important part of your communications system. You can find new and used boat radios on eBay. Here are a few things to know before you purchase a marine radio for your watercraft.

What is a boat radio?

A marine radio is used by boaters to communicate with each other. It is an important safety feature that can help in an emergency. These marine radios operate in the VHF range between 156 and 174 MHz. All large ships and small boats have marine radios installed onboard. A boat radio is a transmitter and receiver that operates on frequencies known as channels. The devices transmission power can reach up to 60 nautical miles.

How many channels are available?

Most marine radios can access up to 25 channels. You will not have to use all the channels, but there are plenty of options available for you. It is important to keep channel 16 clear at all times. Channel 16 is used as the national distress, safety, and calling channel. Your radio should be monitoring this channel when you are on the water. If you are looking to hail another boat, you can use channel 16 or 9. Once you have reached that boat, you need to move the conversation to another channel. Some channels are restricted. It is important to know the rules and regulations in your area before heading out.

What are some basic tips for using a marine radio?

You want to turn on the radio and pick a channel. An available channel is one without any white noise. There are some safety tips that you should know before using the radio. It can help you and your fellow boaters out on the water. Some points you should know include the following:

  • Always monitor channel 16: If you are not communicating with another boater, keep monitoring this channel. It is not a requirement for recreational boats, but many people adhere to this unwritten rule.
  • Keep channels 16 and 9 clear: Once you have reached someone on these channels, move to another working channel. If you tie up 16 or 9, there is a chance the Coast Guard will order you to switch the channel.
  • Keep it short: A marine radio is not a telephone, so keep your conversations short. You should also remember that anyone can hear your conversations as well.
  • Never transmit a false distress alert: It is unlawful to transmit a false alarm without taking the proper steps to cancel it out.