drmevo

How necessary is a VHF for back bays?

43 posts in this topic

I’m all for getting whatever safety gear is recommended, and I see many people mention floating VHF radios. However, if I’m in back bays and rivers with little nearby boat traffic, will it do me any good? My understanding is that it requires line of sight to work. I do have my cell in a water proof pouch where it is usable while sealed up, plus whistle, lights, etc. I might snag one on sale this week if it’s really a necessity. 

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If you are in trouble and call for help, the boats in and around there are supposed to monitor channel 16, if half of them are they will possibly respond a lot quicker then calling the coast guard, who will also get your VHF signal. If I was going to go in the drink and had to choose , I would always grab the VHF first. I have a whistle, knife, VHF small light and cell phone on my life jacket I wear all the time.....Jack

PS : get the highest wattage VHF you can afford makes a difference.

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Your phone is fine. Ive never carried a vhf in 30 years of kayak fishing. But Ive never carried more then one rod either.

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I stumbled upon this at a cost guard web site & posted it in a different thread ..........something i  did not know........

 

 The Coast Guard monitors Channel 16. They have direction finding equipment to assist in locating a boater in distress. In a life threatening situation, radio direction finding capability allows them to triangulate your exact position to locate you quickly. Their direction finding equipment has been tested to have coverage to 25 miles out  with a one watt radio.

 

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1 hour ago, barrell said:

Your phone is fine. Ive never carried a vhf in 30 years of kayak fishing. But Ive never carried more then one rod either.

I guess you're just a huge optimist! I've never needed help, but I've broken rods on the water. Not Tigers, those were cheap BPS graphite's, but still it seems worth taking another rod to eliminate the possibility of a ruined day. I also have broken a paddle, which could have been real bad in, say, the Verrazano Narrows.

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Ive actually used it for the white noise/ conversation on those boring days. I carry one all the time with me. 

 

Have the alert set so weather and CG alerts come over the radio. Few years ago I came across someone having boat problems, smoke coming off it. They were trying to set it started. Thankfully no fire. Asked them if they needed help and if they were able to radio for help. 

 

Do you need one by any rule or law, no. Do you need one if the day comes along you are in trouble/cell battery dead, you’d at least want one then. 

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I always carry my VHF, cellphone and MP3 player in my vest.   Chris Rock once mentioned in an interview a few years back about having 2 cellphones, one to listen to music and one for help.   I took it upon myself after having read that article to always have a fully charged cell and fully charged MP3 player to make sure there's no battery drainage for emergencies.   One never knows when one doesn't always have to call for help for themselves but rather someone else who you didn't know needs it.   Karma, it's a good thing!

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I guess as a "Necessary" I would have to agree with some that you don't need it.

I've boated a long time ,and kayaked since 2009, I used VHF myself once when boat was dead in the water and drifting towards breakers, all the other times was when I helped people a few were a sinking boat in Indian River Inlet, again when Coast Guard hailed me  to assist a CC RIB vessel helping a swamped family off their boat, helping find a missing kayaker in the Chesapeake, and I called a distress signal for a capsized boat in IR inlet and was surprised how fast Coasties were there, faster then the flounder fleet which was responding.  In every situation I just described the VHF radio reached out to the closest vessel or to the Coasties, in a rapid manner of contact.

I feel having the radio might help me and I don't want to be a burden, but more importantly the life you save might be someone else, we need to watch out for each other, VHF does that phones let you call your buddies and coast guard, who more then likely is not the nearest vessel.

So become part of a community of others looking out for each other or just mind your own business and go your own way......Jack

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The problem with hand helds is once buildings or mangroves get in the way you can lose line of sight  and sIgnal becomes weak.  I usually use Sea Tow automated radio check and normally the signal is barely audible on the play back. 

 

A nice do it yourself project would be to   make a protable antenna or make a fishing rod into an emergency antenna. 

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If you're on the water, it's worth it. There's a whole protocol for communication on VHF.  Great article over at New England Kayak Fishing site....down at the bottom.... Articles.

I think it's called VHF for the Kayaker...or something like that. Very helpful. To me anyway.

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I know alot of guys listen to music on their kayak,  not shooting anyone down over it but that's something i never felt comfortable with on the water......

 

Could be that it comes from doing alot of night fishing, i honestly don't really know but i just got so use to fishing in the dark &  hearing is one of the senses that gets augmented the most..... when i can't hear what's going on i feel awkward, almost blind i might say 

 

I definitely want to hear everything going on around me at all times....

 

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Posted (edited) · Report post

31 mins ago, BillZ said:

I know alot of guys listen to music on their kayak,  not shooting anyone down over it but that's something i never felt comfortable with on the water......

 

Could be that it comes from doing alot of night fishing, i honestly don't really know but i just got so use to fishing in the dark &  hearing is one of the senses that gets augmented the most..... when i can't hear what's going on i feel awkward, almost blind i might say 

 

I definitely want to hear everything going on around me at all times....

 

Yeah I'd never be comfortable with loud music or earphones in on the water. Too many reckless boaters out there.

 

As far as the radio goes, you can get a quality Cobra for like $60. It's small and light. Why not carry one just in case?

Edited by Snapking

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Posted (edited) · Report post

Sounds like the consensus is that it's better to have one and not need it then need it and not have it. Any model suggestions? I searched but didn't find many recent threads. I saw the $60 Cobra, but it looks like a lot of people complain that it isn't really waterproof? 

Edited by drmevo

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