Marine Radio

Marine radios are special VHF (Very High Frequency) radios used in river and maritime traffic. They operate in the frequency range between 156 and 163 MHz and can be used to communicate with the coastguard, other vessels and, of course, the port. They are an essential accessory for all sailing boats and yachts, but they are also a useful companion when working in port.

Using the boat radio

The use of VHF radios is subject to a licence issued by the National Communications Authority. Once you have the licence, you will receive the ATIS code for river navigation and the MMSI code for maritime navigation. Maritime band radios are subject to a radio licence and can be used only with a licence. We can arrange for you to obtain this licence if you wish. As for the radio itself, you can choose between a hand-held model or a table-top or shipboard radio.


In addition to two-way communication, the radio can also provide you with important information, such as weather forecasts or safety messages. To be able to speak clearly and understandably on the radio, you need to know the SMCP (communications terminology) dictionary developed by the IMO. For example, a radio silence is ordered by the shore station with the message SEELONCE MAYDAY. This is broken up by the term PRUDONCE.

What channels are used for communication?

Channel 16

This is the most important channel for navigation: it is automatically available when you switch on the boat's radio. On most devices, a button is provided to access this channel with a single press. Not surprisingly, channel 16 is used for emergency, distress, safety and routine calls - all over the world.

Channel 9

Channel for ship-to-ship communication, where port operations take place.

Channel 17

Channel for on-board communication, reserved for navigation purposes.

Channel 11

DSC (Digital Selective Calling) channel, used for automatic data transmission only

Selecting the appropriate marine radio

The Midland and Icom brand marine radios in our range naturally meet all specifications and standards, able to satisfy all types of marine navigation communication requirements. In our webshop you will also find handheld and mobile radios with a range of extra features.


Most models have a waterproof design and can transmit an ATIS code (Automatic Transmitter Identification System). The DSC (Digital Selective Calling) function allows you to send a distress message with a single push of a button, which also contains the most important information (name of the vessel, type, size, owner's name, contact details).


Automatic channel monitoring allows you to monitor all the channels used by the vessel, thus increasing safety. The same is true for the built-in GPS receiver found in many radios, and the two-way active noise cancellation allows clear and uninterrupted communication.


With the AquaQuake function in Icom products, you don't even have to worry if water gets into the speaker: the device removes it instantly with a high-pitched vibrating sound. A particularly useful additional feature is the night light signal. If the radio falls into water in the dark, the flashing light makes it easy to find.


Contact us if you need expert help to decide! We can also help you choose the right radio and obtain your boat radio licence.