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; www.garmin.com)
ICOM offers two floating handheld VHFs, the IC-M34 and the IC-M36. ($280-310; www.icomamerica.com)
The Ray 218 VHF/Hailer features a large oversize display and styling to match any existing Raymarine products you may have onboard. ($500; www.raymarine.com)
STANDARD HORIZON’s HX750S handheld VHF has a wireless Bluetooth headset that features both voice activation and push-to-talk. ($150-250; www.standardhorizon.com)
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; www.acrelectronics.com)
Check out Capt. Bruce Pelkey's site, navigate-us.com, for more marine electronics comparisons and information.
This article originally appeared in the April 2009 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.