How to Choose a VHF Radio for Your Boat

VHF Radio for Your Boat

A quality VHF radio could save your life if you ever find yourself in trouble out on the water. Unlike past models, newer VHF radios offer a range of additional benefits that are worth considering.

VHF radio lets boaters have two-way contact with other vessels, rescue services, and anyone else using VHF radios. While they used to be a one-size-fits-all product, these days they have a range of extra features that may better suit your requirements. Here are the features you can choose from at your next marine radio installation.

Fixed or handheld options

VHF radios are available in either fixed or handheld options. Experienced boaters recommend buying a fixed VHF radio, a mobile VHF radio for backup, and batteries as well. If your boat battery fails, your fixed VHF radio will not work.

Water damage and corrosion protection

While fixed VHF radios are protected against corrosion, handheld models are subject to accidentally falling overboard.
If you’re considering a handheld option, consider a floating waterproof model. The rating tells you if the model is waterproof. A model without waterproofing will have an IPX0 rating, while a fully waterproof option will have a maximum rating of IPX8.

Range requirements and antenna length

VHF radios are available in different distance ratings. If you regularly go into open water, consider purchasing a 50-mile range radio. If you plan on staying closer to the shoreline, a shorter range rating should suffice.
VHF radios transmit to one another in a straight line, which is why a long antenna is so important. Choose a model with a long antenna to ensure you can transmit and receive the maximum distance possible with your system.

Timely weather alerts

If you’re heading out into the open sea, it’s vital to have up-to-date weather information. Some fixed VHF radios are equipped with early warnings which notify you of incoming storms which could potentially save your life.
If you’re taking your family out on the water or you’re responsible for a crew, why not consider upgrading to this option at your next marine stereo installation?


weather alerts system

Consider DSC capability

Most VHF radios come with inbuilt DSC or Digital Selective Calling. With this function, you can send a direct location to emergency services, which will help them locate you faster.
Make sure you select a VHF radio with this option if safety is a top concern. Many boat users haven’t actually set up this function. Imagine Marine will be happy to help you do this.

Benefits of GPS

Another useful safety function with new VHS radios is the GPS feature. This allows you to see your exact position on the water which can help you access assistance and also help friends locate you.
With some models, you can even save preset destinations you regularly visit, which is great if you have a favorite secret fishing spot that you’d like to visit again.

Final thought

With such an amazing range of features, it is well worth considering whether an upgrade is right for you. Regardless of the model you choose, you’re sure to have safer experiences on the water.