Handheld VHF radios may look like simple walkie-talkies, but they're much more advanced than you may realize. This will be one of the most important marine instruments you'll have on board. Handheld VHF allows you to communicate with other boat captains, harbormasters, bridge tenders and anyone else you may need to contact.
These systems can use your boat's antenna to send signals, but it's important to know that most of the models we carry feature their own antenna as well that can be used if your boat has an electrical failure, capsizes or sinks. Many manufacturers now build floatation devices into these marine electronics so that they won't sink in the event that one falls overboard.
You can count on these devices to last 8-15 hours on battery life, and some also feature a built-in GPS receiver that can relay your coordinates if you need to be rescued. Signals from handheld VHF typically travel 3-8 miles. In addition to allowing you to communicate, they also provide a weather signal that lets you know if a severe storm is approaching, giving you time to prepare.
Keep in mind that these are not necessarily a replacement for a fixed-mount VHF that stays in the cockpit of your boat. Those systems can provide a more powerful, and thus longer ranging, signal, allowing you to communicate with vessels and harbors when farther offshore. But in the event that your boat cannot provide the electricity needed for your fixed-mount system, a handheld VHF can be a lifesaver.
For more information on the capabilities of our handheld VHF and other boat parts and accessories, feel free to give ePal a call today at (877) 245-8649.