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Best Hand Held Marine Radio (2023 Update)

If you’re looking for a reliable and convenient way to stay connected while out on the water, a hand-held marine radio is a must-have item. These portable radios allow you to communicate with other boaters or emergency services in case of an emergency. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the best one for your needs?

Before buying a hand-held marine radio, there are a few important factors to consider. First, you need to make sure the radio is waterproof and floats so that it won’t get damaged if it accidentally falls overboard. It’s also important to look for a radio with a long battery life, as you never know how long you might need to use it in an emergency. Finally, consider the range of the radio and whether it has useful features like GPS or weather alerts.

Do you frequently go boating in remote areas where you might not have cell phone service? Have you ever been in a situation where you needed to call for help while out on the water? If so, a hand-held marine radio is an essential piece of equipment to keep you safe. But with so many options available, it can be tough to choose the best one for your needs. In the following article, we’ll take a closer look at the features that matter most and suggest some of the best hand-held marine radios on the market.

10 Best Hand Held Marine Radio

# Product Image Product Name Product Notes Check Price
1
This product is ideal for communicating with other vessels and emergency services while out on the water.
2
The product is ideal for communication on boats or other watercraft.
3
The product is ideal for communication over short distances using a handheld device, typically used in marine environments.
4
Ideal for mariners as a portable communication device with features such as waterproofness, long battery life, and noise-canceling technology.
5
The product is ideal for communication on boats in marine environments, with waterproof and efficient broadcasting capabilities.
6
Ideal for boaters and marine enthusiasts who need a durable and feature-packed handheld VHF radio with GPS and Bluetooth capabilities.
7
This product is ideal for communication on boats or in any marine environment, using VHF radio technology.
8
Ideal for boaters who need a rugged, waterproof VHF radio with GPS, Bluetooth, and noise-cancelling microphone.
9
Ideal for boaters requiring a durable, submersible VHF radio with noise cancelling mic, backlit display, NOAA weather alerts, and memory scan.
10
This product is ideal for those in need of a durable, Bluetooth-enabled VHF radio for water activities with noise cancellation and LCD display.
This product is ideal for communicating with other vessels and emergency services while out on the water.
The product is ideal for communication on boats or other watercraft.
The product is ideal for communication over short distances using a handheld device, typically used in marine environments.
Ideal for mariners as a portable communication device with features such as waterproofness, long battery life, and noise-canceling technology.
The product is ideal for communication on boats in marine environments, with waterproof and efficient broadcasting capabilities.
Ideal for boaters and marine enthusiasts who need a durable and feature-packed handheld VHF radio with GPS and Bluetooth capabilities.
This product is ideal for communication on boats or in any marine environment, using VHF radio technology.
Ideal for boaters who need a rugged, waterproof VHF radio with GPS, Bluetooth, and noise-cancelling microphone.
Ideal for boaters requiring a durable, submersible VHF radio with noise cancelling mic, backlit display, NOAA weather alerts, and memory scan.
This product is ideal for those in need of a durable, Bluetooth-enabled VHF radio for water activities with noise cancellation and LCD display.

1. Standard Horizon Hx300 Standard Hx300 Handheld Vhf Marine Radio

The product boasts a large 1.75" LCD display, providing users with a clear and easy-to-read interface. With the ability to switch between 5 or 1 watts of transmit power, users can tailor their communication range based on their specific needs. The device also offers a variety of scanning functions including Programmable, Priority Scan, and Dual/Tri Watch. These features allow users to easily navigate through various channels and frequencies, ensuring they never miss an important transmission. The device's sturdy construction and reliable performance make it an ideal choice for outdoor enthusiasts, professionals, and anyone in need of a dependable communication tool.

2. Icom Ic-M25 21 Handheld Vhf Radio – Blue Trim

Introducing the Blue Trim M25 Handheld VHF, a reliable and efficient communication device for your marine adventures. This VHF radio is designed to keep you connected with your fellow boaters and rescue authorities, even in the toughest conditions.

One of the key features of this VHF radio is its ability to float on water, making it easy to retrieve and reducing the risk of losing it in the event of an accidental drop. Additionally, it flashes when in water, increasing its visibility and making it easier to locate.

The M25 has a 5/1Watt output power, allowing you to communicate over long distances with ease. Its battery life is impressive, lasting up to 11 hours on a single charge. You can conveniently charge the device from any 5V USB socket, making it a practical choice for on-the-go adventures.

This VHF radio also boasts a sleek blue trim design that is easy on the eyes and adds a touch of style to your boating gear. Its compact size and lightweight build make it easy to carry around and store.

3. Standard Horizon Hx380 1.5" Standard Handheld Vhf

The product being reviewed is a versatile two-way radio that offers a range of features suitable for both marine and commercial use. With the ability to access up to 40 programmable channels, this radio can be customized to suit the user's needs.

The device is powered by a 1650mAh Lithium-Ion battery, which provides an impressive 13 hours of continuous use. This means that the user can stay connected for extended periods without worrying about running out of battery.

One of the standout features of this radio is its oversized LCD screen, which displays channel names in a clear and easy-to-read format. This makes it simple for the user to navigate through the available channels and find the one they need.

For added convenience, the device is compatible with both a speaker mic and a headset, allowing the user to communicate hands-free if required. This is particularly useful in situations where the user needs to keep their hands free for other tasks.

Finally, the device boasts 700mW of loud audio, ensuring that the user can hear incoming transmissions clearly even in noisy environments. This is a crucial feature for those working in loud or busy areas, where clear communication is essential.

4. Icom M73 Plus Marine Vhf Handheld Radio

The IC-M73 is an outstanding VHF radio that offers a range of impressive features. One of its unique functions is the Aqua Quake water draining function, which allows for smooth water draining from the speaker grill, ensuring clear communication even in wet conditions.

Additionally, the IC-M73 features a dual/tri-watch function that enables users to monitor channel 16, which is the international distress channel, and/or the call channel, ensuring that they never miss an important message. It also comes with a four-level battery indicator, which keeps the user informed of the battery life, ensuring that they are always prepared.

The IC-M73 features a BTL (bridge-tied load) amplifier that provides an impressive audio output, making it easy to communicate even in noisy environments. Moreover, the radio has been rigorously tested and proven to withstand being submerged in 1.5 meters (4.9ft) of water for 30 minutes, thanks to its IPX8 rating.

5. Submersible Marine Vhf Radio With Usa/intl Channels

The Uniden MHS75 VHF Hand Held Radio is the ideal marine communication device for those who want to stay connected while out on the water. With a JIS8 waterproof rating, this radio can withstand the toughest conditions that come with being on the water, including whitecap splash, gusty spray, and tidal waves. Its rugged construction is designed to take the rigors of being out on the water, day in and day out.

This radio also features a floating design and is submersible for up to 30 minutes at five feet, making it an excellent choice for boaters who want a reliable communication device that won't let them down. The 1/2.5/5 Watt Switchable feature allows users to select between short- and long-range communication, making it a convenient way to save battery life. In most situations, the 1 Watt transmission power is all that's needed. However, if you're far away from other stations and have trouble getting a response, you can boost the transmission power from 1 Watt to 2.5 Watts or 5 Watts.

The Uniden MHS75 covers all USA, International, and Canadian marine channels, ensuring that you're always up-to-date with the latest marine activity. It also comes preprogrammed with all NOAA weather channels, making it a severe weather warning radio that can alert you to any local or national emergencies. The Emergency/Weather Alert feature, when turned on, sounds an alert tone when the NOAA issues a warning. You will then hear the emergency/weather broadcast.

The instant Channel 16/9/Triple Watch feature monitors channels 16 and 9 for a signal while you're listening to the currently selected channel. The marine radio checks channel 16 and 9 for activity every 2 seconds, keeping you informed and connected at all times.

6. Cobra Handheld Vhf Radio With Gps And Bluetooth

The Cobra Handheld Marine Radio is a reliable communication device that offers a range of features for seamless usage while out on the water. The radio comes equipped with Bluetooth and GPS capabilities, allowing for safe and dry communication with your phone. Additionally, the built-in GPS receiver displays your coordinates on the screen and automatically sends your location with DSC calls.

The rewind-say-again feature is an added bonus, recording the last 20 seconds of incoming transmissions, ensuring you never miss important information in noisy conditions. With the ability to operate channels in the US, Canada, and internationally at 1, 3, or 6 watts, you can communicate with ease over both short and long distances. The radio also provides access to NOAA weather channels and instant Channel 16 access for emergencies.

The Burp Feature is another useful addition that vibrates water out of the speaker grill, improving speaker performance. Additionally, the weather alerts with an audible tone and visual alarm warn you real-time if threatening weather is nearby.

The Cobra Handheld Marine Radio comes with everything you need for immediate use, including a drop-in battery charger, AC charger, 12V DC charger, LiON battery pack, antenna, owner’s manual, spring loaded belt clip, and wrist strap. With its maximum coverage and clear communication, this handheld marine radio is a must-have for any boater.

7. Standard Horizon Hx400 W/sbr-29li, Handheld Vhf Marine Radio

The Submersible IPX8 / 1.5M (4.92Ft) for 30 minutes is a high-quality communication device that is perfect for outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, boaters, and other individuals who need a reliable means of communication in challenging environments. This device is designed to withstand harsh conditions and features a submersible IPX8 rating, which means that it can be submerged in water up to 1.5 meters deep for up to 30 minutes without sustaining any damage.

One of the key features of this device is its selectable 5 or 1 Watt transmit power output, which allows users to choose the appropriate power level for their needs. This feature is particularly useful for individuals who need to conserve battery life or who are operating in areas with limited signal coverage.

Another important feature of this communication device is the noise-canceling microphone, which helps to reduce background noise and improve clarity during conversations. This feature ensures that users can communicate clearly and effectively, even in noisy environments.

The device also comes equipped with 40 programmable land mobile channels ranging from 134 MHz to 174 MHz, along with CTCSS and DCS signaling. This feature provides users with a wide range of communication options and ensures that they can communicate with other individuals using compatible devices.

The device is supplied with a 2300mAh Li-Ion battery, 110 VAC, and 12 VDC 3-hour quick chargers, which ensures that users can keep their device charged and ready to use at all times. The battery has a long life and can provide hours of uninterrupted communication.

8. Cobra Floating Vhf Radio With Gps & Bluetooth

The Cobra Handheld Marine Radio is an all-in-one device that can help keep you safe and connected while out on the water. With its Bluetooth capabilities, you can make calls directly from the radio, keeping your phone safe and dry. Plus, with the built-in GPS receiver, you can see your GPS coordinates on the screen and automatically send your exact location with DSC calls, ensuring that you can quickly and easily get help in an emergency.

The radio also features a rewind-say-again feature that automatically records the last 20 seconds of incoming transmissions, making it easy to catch any important information that you might have missed in noisy conditions. And with the ability to operate on channels in the US, Canada, and internationally at 1, 3, or 6 watts, you can enjoy short and long-range communication no matter where you are. The Cobra Handheld Marine Radio also provides access to NOAA weather channels and instant Channel 16 access for emergencies.

When it comes to communication, the Cobra Handheld Marine Radio has you covered. The Burp Feature vibrates the water out of the speaker grill, improving speaker performance and ensuring clear communication. Additionally, weather alerts with an audible tone and visual alarm warn you in real-time if threatening weather is nearby.

This handheld marine radio comes with everything you need to get started. The included drop-in battery charger, AC charger, and 12V DC charger make it easy to keep your radio charged and ready to go. The LiON battery pack provides long-lasting power, and the antenna ensures maximum coverage. Plus, the radio comes with an owner's manual, spring-loaded belt clip, and wrist strap, making it easy to take with you wherever you go.

9. Float With Confidence: Cobra Vhf Radio.

For those who love marine adventures, a reliable communication and safety tool is essential. This is why this fixed-mount marine radio is a must-have. Equipped with a noise-cancelling microphone, it effectively blocks out background noise for crystal clear conversations.

One of the features that make this radio stand out is its 6 Watt VHF power output. This allows users to customize their conversations whether they are near or far from shore. Users can select between 1, 3, and 6 watts for short- and long-range communication.

The radio's backlit orange display makes it easy to read even in low light conditions, and its floating design ensures that it is easily retrievable if dropped overboard. Plus, it has the capability to operate on the USA, Canada, and International Channels, providing maximum coverage wherever you go.

Staying informed about weather conditions and emergencies is crucial when on the water. This radio has a built-in NOAA Weather radio channel that provides 24-hour updates on threatening weather conditions, emergencies, and incoming hazards.

10. Cobra Vhf Bluetooth Handheld Radio – Submersible & Floating

The Cobra Handheld Marine Radio is a must-have device for any boater who wishes to keep in touch with their loved ones while out on the water. With its added Bluetooth capabilities, you can now make and receive calls directly from your radio, keeping your phone safe and dry.

The Burp feature is another exciting addition that vibrates water out of the speaker grill, improving speaker performance, and ensuring clear communication. Additionally, the noise-canceling microphone blocks background noise, making conversations clearer and more effective.

The rewind-say-again feature is ideal for noisy environments as it automatically records the last 20 seconds of incoming transmissions, ensuring that you never miss any crucial information from your boat.

The Cobra Handheld Marine Radio provides maximum coverage, allowing for operation of channels in the US, Canada, and internationally at 1, 3, or 6 watts, ensuring both short and long-range communication. Access to NOAA weather channels and instant Channel 16 access for emergencies make this device an essential tool for any boater.

The radio comes complete with everything you need to get started, including a drop-in battery charger, AC charger, 12V DC charger, LiON battery pack, antenna, owner’s manual, spring-loaded belt clip, and wrist strap.

Best Hand Held Marine Radio FAQs

Are there any regulations or requirements for using a handheld marine radio?

Yes, there are regulations and requirements for using a handheld marine radio. The use of marine radios is regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States and by similar governing bodies in other countries.

In the US, anyone operating a marine radio must have a valid FCC Ship Station License, which requires passing a written test. Additionally, the operator must be familiar with the rules and regulations governing the use of marine radios, including the proper use of channels, power limits, and distress signals.

It is also important to note that the use of marine radios is strictly for emergency communication and navigation purposes. Any misuse or abuse of a marine radio can result in fines and penalties.

Furthermore, handheld marine radios must be approved by the FCC and meet specific technical standards to ensure that they are safe and effective for use on the water. These standards include requirements for power output, frequency range, and interference reduction.

Overall, it is crucial to follow all regulations and requirements when using a handheld marine radio to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the water.

Can a handheld marine radio be used for emergency communication?

Yes, a handheld marine radio can definitely be used for emergency communication in the event of an emergency situation on the water. In fact, it is highly recommended that all vessels have at least one marine radio onboard for this very purpose. In the event of an emergency, a marine radio can be used to send out a distress signal, which will alert other vessels in the area and can also be picked up by the Coast Guard and other emergency response teams.

In addition to emergency communication, a handheld marine radio can also be used for general communication between vessels, as well as for receiving important weather updates and other relevant information. It is important to note, however, that proper operating procedures must be followed when using a marine radio, as it is a shared channel and misuse can interfere with other users. It is also important to regularly check and maintain the radio to ensure it is in good working order in case of an emergency.

How easy is it to use a handheld marine radio, especially in an emergency situation?

Using a handheld marine radio in an emergency situation can be straightforward if you have the right knowledge and skills. Before operating a handheld marine radio, it's essential to read the manual carefully to understand the device's features and functions. You should also familiarize yourself with the emergency channels and their frequencies.

In an emergency, you need to remain calm and focused to communicate effectively. You should speak clearly and use standard radio protocols to ensure that your message is understood. It's also important to keep the radio charged and easily accessible at all times.

Modern handheld marine radios are designed to be user-friendly and intuitive to operate. They typically feature a large LCD screen that displays essential information such as battery life, channel selected, and signal strength. Some models also feature GPS and Bluetooth connectivity, making them even more versatile.

Overall, using a handheld marine radio in an emergency situation can be easy if you have the right knowledge and skills. With the right preparation and training, you can quickly and effectively communicate with other boats and emergency services to ensure your safety and that of others.

How many channels should a handheld marine radio have?

A handheld marine radio should have at least one dedicated channel for distress calls. This is usually channel 16, which is monitored by the coast guard and other vessels in the area. In addition to channel 16, a handheld marine radio should have the ability to access other channels for communication with other vessels, harbormasters, and marinas. The number of channels required depends on the intended use of the radio. For recreational boaters, a handheld marine radio with 10-20 channels should suffice. However, for commercial vessels or those operating in busy waterways, a radio with 25 or more channels may be necessary. It's important to note that not all channels are available in all areas, so it's important to check with local authorities to determine which channels are available and recommended for use in a specific area.

Is it important to choose a waterproof or water-resistant handheld marine radio?

Yes, it is essential to choose a waterproof or water-resistant handheld marine radio when you are out on the water. The radio is a crucial safety tool that helps you stay in touch with other boats, emergency services, and the coastguard. In case of an emergency, such as sudden weather changes, equipment failure or accidents, the radio can make a significant difference between life and death. A waterproof or water-resistant radio will ensure that the device stays functional even in wet conditions, and it can withstand submersion in water for a certain period, depending on the product's IP rating. The IP rating is a measure of the device's protection against water and dust. A water-resistant radio can withstand splashes of water, while a waterproof radio can survive immersion in water for a certain amount of time. Therefore, it is essential to choose a radio that suits your needs and the conditions you will encounter while out on the water.

Is it necessary to have a GPS feature on a handheld marine radio?

While it is not strictly necessary to have a GPS feature on a handheld marine radio, having one can be very useful for a number of reasons. Firstly, GPS allows you to easily and accurately determine your location at sea, which is important for navigation and for communicating your position to others in case of emergency. It can also help you to plot a course to a particular destination, and to avoid hazards such as reefs and shallow waters. Additionally, some handheld marine radios with GPS can also display tide and weather information, which can be extremely useful for boaters. Ultimately, whether or not you need a GPS feature on your handheld marine radio will depend on your specific needs and situation. However, for most boaters, having GPS on their radio is a valuable tool that can significantly enhance safety and navigation abilities while out on the water.

What are the top features to look for in a handheld marine radio?

When choosing a handheld marine radio, there are several important features that you should consider. First and foremost, the radio should be waterproof and able to withstand exposure to saltwater and other harsh marine conditions. It should also have a long battery life and be rechargeable. A good range is also important, as well as the ability to switch between different channels and frequencies. Look for a radio that has a clear and loud speaker, as well as a backlit display for easy reading in low-light conditions. Some radios also come with GPS capabilities, which can be useful for navigation and emergency situations. Other features to consider include weather alerts, noise-cancelling technology, and the ability to connect to other devices such as a smartphone or external speaker. Ultimately, the best handheld marine radio for you will depend on your specific needs and intended use, so take the time to research and compare different options before making a purchase.

What is the battery life of a typical handheld marine radio?

The battery life of a typical handheld marine radio can vary depending on the battery type, usage, and other factors. Generally, a marine radio powered by alkaline batteries can last for up to 8-10 hours of continuous use, while a marine radio powered by rechargeable batteries can last for up to 12-20 hours of continuous use, depending on the battery capacity.

However, it's important to note that the battery life can vary based on several factors such as the frequency of use, the transmission power, the weather conditions, and more. It's recommended to always carry spare batteries or a backup power source to ensure uninterrupted communication in case of emergency situations.

Moreover, the battery life can also be extended by optimizing the usage, such as adjusting the transmission power to the minimum required level, turning off unnecessary features, and keeping the radio in standby mode when not in use.

What is the maximum range of a typical handheld marine radio?

The maximum range of a typical handheld marine radio can vary depending on various factors such as weather conditions, antenna height, and power output. However, on average, a VHF handheld marine radio can have a range of up to five miles over water. This range can be extended by using a more powerful radio with a higher wattage output, which can increase the range up to 20 miles or more.

It's important to note that range can also be affected by obstacles such as hills, buildings, and other obstructions. In addition, the clarity and strength of communication can be impacted by the quality of the antenna, the frequency being used, and the level of interference in the area.

It's always recommended to check the manufacturer's specifications for the specific handheld marine radio being used, and to follow proper radio etiquette to ensure clear communication and safety on the water.

Which brand makes the best handheld marine radio?

The best handheld marine radio brand can vary depending on personal preference and specific needs, but there are a few brands that consistently rank highly in terms of quality and features. One such brand is ICOM, which is known for producing durable and reliable handheld marine radios with excellent range and clarity. Another top brand is Standard Horizon, which offers a range of handheld radios with features such as GPS, weather alerts, and Bluetooth connectivity. Garmin is also a popular brand for handheld marine radios, with models that include GPS and two-way communication capabilities. Ultimately, the best handheld marine radio brand will depend on individual needs, such as range, durability, and specific features. It's important to do research and read reviews to make an informed decision before purchasing a handheld marine radio.