Brush Up On Your VHF Radio Skills

July 2015 Industry, News Web Exclusive

"Maritime VHF Sailor RT144" by S.J. de Waard - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

Do you know how to work a marine VHF radio? I sure don't. But the VHF (Very High Frequency) is one of the most important tools at your disposal when you're out on the water. Now, most VHF radios you use today obviously don't look like the one in the above picture; in fact, they look a lot like a walkie-talkie. They're small enough that they're easily stowed pretty much anywhere on your pontoon in case of an emergency. So are you up to speed on how they work?

"Handheld Maritime VHF". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - not, or if you just need to brush up on your skills, BoatUS is here to help. As always, theyve got online courses that will help you get the knowledge you need to be a better and safer boater. To teach how to correctly use a VHF radio, they've joined with the US Power Squadrons to offer a $24.95 course. 

“From calling a mayday to requesting a marina slip, it’s the boater’s VHF radio that is the most reliable way to communicate and it is the only piece of equipment that can get those closest to a boat in distress to respond quickly,” said BoatUS Foundation Director of Education Amanda Suttles Pérez.

The course, called All About Marine Radio, teaches you how to choose the radio that best fits your particular boating style, as well as how to get the most out of it. It also teaches the following points:

  • Determine which features you want in a marine radio for your type of boating
  • Make and receive radio calls, including what channels to use
  • Obtain and use an Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number for your boat
  • Call for help in all kinds of emergencies
  • Ensure that your transmissions are understandable
  • Simple rules to follow when using your radio

To learn more about the course, head on over to the BoatUS website. If you're interested in knowing the background of VHF, this Wikipedia article is a good place to start.

(H/T to BoatUS)

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