for reliable on-the-water communications, we recommend using either hand-held or
fixed-mount VHF radios. When you're stuck in a jam-whether from engine failure
or a fierce storm approaching, a VHF radio can be your lifeline to the world.
Coast Guard jurisdictions, VHFs are monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
For extra assurance, the USCG and most TowBoatU.S. and Vessel Assist towers can locate your boat
by tracking your VHF signal. VHFs are handy in an emergency, but they have other
uses: telephone calls to shore, obtaining supplies and services such as marina
reservations, and boat operations like drawbridge openings and communicating
with commercial and other recreational vessels.
Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates marine radio traffic and
dictates that all other uses are secondary to safety, so chatting is frowned
upon by the FCC and forbidden on Channel 16 and 9.