Do you cruise in areas with a lot of other boats – or are you planning to?
If so, do everyone around you a favor and switch your VHF to low power when you’re calling a boat, bridge or marina within a mile of your location.
Sure, use high power when you need to call a longer distance or if someone just can’t hear you well. But if you’re using high power, remember that you’re tying up the airwaves on that channel for about 12 miles in ALL directions. That’s a LOT of boats that can’t use that channel while you are.
Some channels are automatically low power on most radios, but on others – particularly for hailing on VHF 16 – you’ll have to manually switch to low power. There’s usually a button on the radio or a remote mic that makes this quick and easy.
Switching to low power does nothing to your receiving, so leaving your radio on low power won’t interfere with hearing important calls. If you reply to someone and they can’t hear you, you can switch to high power at that point.
Your VHF is one of the most important safety devices on a boat. If you want to know more about the ins and outs of its operation, we have two resources for you – first to learn effective operations and second a quick reference designed to be used right at the radio:
- Online course – VHF Radio: Everything You Need to Know (self-paced, on demand, $29)
- The Boat Galley Handy VHF Reference (quick reference to keep at the radio, sold on Amazon, $12.04)
And for information about all those bridges you’ll be calling on your radio (and so much more), check out the Atlantic ICW Cockpit Quick Reference Guide.
By the way, John Herlig, who created both VHF resources for TBG teaches the VHF radio course at Cruisers University at both the spring and fall Annapolis Boat Show. Be sure to say hi to him if you’re there!
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Your VHF radio is one of the most versatile pieces of equipment on your boat, as well as your first line of communication in an emergency. Do you know how to use all of its amazing functions? Learn how in just a few hours!