Avid boaters and those who love to fish know never to go out on the water without their cell phones and a VHF Radio. But there is a big difference between how you use a cell phone, and how and when you use your VHF radio. Every year we hear more people at tradeshows and events say that they don’t need a VHF Radio because they have a cell phone. We would like to share with everyone what the Coast Guard and experts in the field know: this is not a smart or safe idea.
There are a couple of main reasons you MUST think about a cell phone vs a VHF radio.
1. The Coast Guard does not monitor cell phone calls.
2. Cell phones do not have the quality of today’s VHF Radios. All Icom handheld and fixed mount VHF radios are waterproof and built to the highest military standards. We even have radios that float and flash.
3. You cannot monitor ship to ship or ship to shore calls with a cell phone. You easily can do this with a VHF radio.
4. All of today’s VHF Radios have DSC (Digital Selective Calling) so you can push a distress button on your radio and it will automatically send out your position and who you are to all the boats within VHF range as well as the Coast Guard. FYI – You must register your radio to make this feature work properly. It’s easy to do and free on Boatus.com.
5. At the press of a button you can receive weather alerts on VHF radios.
Boatus.com has more information about this subject to help familiarize yourself with the pros of a VHF radio.
One last comment to keep in mind, If your boat was sinking and there were boats around you, do you have their cell phone numbers to call for help?
Fun and safe boating everyone!