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Do we have a marine VHF radio if we already have a cell phone?

Do we have a marine VHF radio if we already have a cell phone?

Do we have a marine VHF radio if we already have a cell phone?

For many sailors, cell phones have become their primary means of both ship-to-shore and ship-to-ship communication. Even the Coast Guard will often ask for a cell number after it receives a distress call.

None of this, however, makes a VHF radio any less important

A handheld VHF marine radio is your lifeline at sea; be on the ship, watercraft or boat sailing, fishing, or just doing your job.

Whether you need to connect to the coast guards, send rescue signals, talk to other vessels, contact bridge, or contact other crew on large ships; a handheld VHF marine radio is a must once in sea waters.

There are a number of reasons for this: first and foremost, the fact that despite the seeming ubiquity of cell coverage these days, it is still far from total, even for those sailing coastal.

Of course, for those going offshore or venturing to remote locals, cell coverage simply isn’t part of the equation

Beyond that, while it may be convenient to call ahead to a marina or make dinner reservations by phone, VHF remains the primary means of making a distress call, either to the Coast Guard or any towing services in the area,

both of which monitor channel 16. Same thing with any other boats in the vicinity, making VHF a critical safety device. If you’ve run aground and don’t happen to have the cell number of that sportfishing boat roaring by,

the only way you’re going to be able to hail it is by VHF, even if you are literally stuck in the shadow of a nearby cell tower

Finally, handheld VHFs fulfill one of the critical requirements of any safety system—redundancy. Not only are they up to the task of operating amid wind and rain,

but they keep on working even when your cell phone has long given up the ghost or your fixed-mount radio has been rendered non-functional due to fire, sinking or after you’ve had to abandon ship.

Not for nothing do sailors include a VHF handheld in their ditch bag.

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