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What To Look For in a Survival Radio

By on March 15, 2014

Survival radios are not just for commercial vessels; they should be considered an integral part of any safety and contingency plan aboard all watercraft. These multi-channel VHF GMDSS radios are designed to provide you with instant communication in times of emergency or distress. With so many on the market today, it can be difficult to know which is the best for your application. Multi channel VHF radios are essential, not only do hey allow you to quickly send distress or MAY DAY signals, they also allow you to listen to weather, and communicate with others. Not all VHF radios are designed for survival type situations, below take a look at some things you must consider before purchasing one.

1. Automatic Selection To Channel 16

In an emergency, it is essential that emergency tools be as simplistic as possible. A survival radio should automatically tune to Channel 16, the global channel for distress, when turned on.

2. Easy Touch Pad Operation

It is quite possible that during an emergent situation the person to activate the survival radio and communicate for help will have no previous experience operating one. It is essential that the radio have self-explanatory buttons that are easy to operate in all types of conditions.

3. Belt Clip or Lanyard

The best safety principle is to have every member of your crew with his or her own personal survival radio attached to his or her wrist or belt. Then, in the event of an emergency, they can quickly call for help, even if they have gone overboard.

4. Small and Compact Design

Multi-channel VHF survival radios should be small enough so they do not get in the way of routine responsibilities while on board. They should fit comfortably in the hand, with buttons large enough to operate, even with gloves on. Look for one that is light yet functional.

5. Floats

Many of the survival radios on the market today that are engineered for maritime use oddly are not designed to float. Of course, this is essential; do not even consider a radio that does not float. A radio that is buoyant even after being submersed is needed during emergency situations. If it comes loose from the individual, it should be easily spotted in the water as well. A bright yellow or orange is ideal.

6. All Maritime Simplex Channels

The radio you select for emergency communications must have all maritime Simplex channels, including the weather. As anyone that has spent time on water knows, up-to-date and accurate weather information is necessary to ensure safe travels. Think of a survival radio as your link to safety and communication in a time of crisis or when you need accurate weather information quickly.

 7. Continuous Operating Life of 8 Hours

Water rescues, whether in fresh water or the ocean, can take some time. It is vital that the radio you depend on for your survival is able to operate continuously under extreme conditions for 8 hours. This requires a strong lithium battery life, and advanced engineering.

8. Waterproof to 10 Feet

In some cases of emergency when someone goes overboard, they may fall beneath the surface of the water, or be dragged under by a wave. It is vital that the survival radio you buy for emergent situations is waterproof to at least 10 feet underwater.

9. User Replaceable Lithium Batteries

Many models on the market today do not offer users the ability to replace batteries themselves. This should be one of the most important aspects to consider in your purchase for a survival radio.  

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