Tom’s Tips About VHF

By Tom Neale, 2/8/2007

1. There are FCC regulations governing use of the VHF and we should all know and follow them. It’s not just a matter of “doing good,” it can be a matter of saving lives.

2. You can get information about these regulations and channel restrictions at and other portions of the FCC site.

3. Switching to illegal channels can disrupt critical traffic. For example, now many boaters say they are “going up one” from Channel 16 when they want to switch and talk. Channel 17 is not designated for pleasure boat use and is only one watt.

4. We’ve found it exceptionally important over the years to have two VHF sets and to keep one on Channel 13. Even if the second set is a handheld, it’s far better than none. You will find the handheld very useful for other things such as taking it in your dinghy.

5. Many states require you to communicate with bridges on Channel 09. When we approach bridges in these states we talk with them on the second set which we normally keep tuned to Channel 13, but we go back to 13 when we have cleared the bridge area.

Go to for other information

Boating and water sports involve risk. Any comments herein should be followed at your own risk. You assume all responsibility for risk or injury to yourself or others. Any person or entity that uses this information in any way, as a condition of that use, agrees to waive and does waive and also hold authors harmless from any and all claims which may arise from or be related to that use.

Copyright 2004-2010 Tom Neale