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Radio Days

Everyone understands the importance of a VHF radio. A fixed-mount unit provides a key communications link to other boaters, the Coast Guard, and local police. If you travel offshore, a VHF may be your only means of requesting assistance. On the other hand, if disaster strikes or your boat loses power, a portable handheld VHF could make the difference between inconvenience and calamity.

GARMIN recently introduced the new VHF 100 and VHF 200 radios. ($250-400;

ICOM offers two floating handheld VHFs, the IC-M34 and the IC-M36. ($280-310;

The Ray 218 VHF/Hailer features a large oversize display and styling to match any existing Raymarine products you may have onboard. ($500;

STANDARD HORIZON’s HX750S handheld VHF has a wireless Bluetooth headset that features both voice activation and push-to-talk. ($150-250;

Although not a VHF, ACR’s GlobalFix IPRO will keep you in touch in an emergency. It features a digital display, dual GPS technology, and an LED strobe. ($850;

Check out Capt. Bruce Pelkey's site,, for more marine electronics comparisons and information.

This article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.