The Essentials Of Handheld Marine Radios

If you're thinking about buying a handheld marine radio, there are a few things you should know before you make your purchase. 

In this article, we'll share with you what you need to know about handheld marine radios, from features to watching out for to additional accessories you may need. 

By the end of this post, you'll be an expert on handheld marine radios, and you'll be able to make an informed decision when it comes time to purchase one.

What is a Handheld Marine Radio, and Why do you Need it?

A handheld marine radio is a radio that is small enough to be carried by an individual, typically on a boat. Marine handheld radios are used to communicate with other boats, as well as with shore stations and emergency services. 

A handheld marine radio is an essential piece of safety equipment for any boat, large or small. In an emergency, a marine radio can be used to call for help from rescuers. Marine radios are also useful for day-to-day communications, such as checking in with the marina or other boats in the area. 

If you're planning on spending time on the water, make sure you're prepared with a handheld marine radio. Even if you have a fixed marine radio on board, it’s best practice to have a handheld marine radio too. 

Features to Look for when purchasing a Handheld Marine Radio 


The wattage of a radio determines its range, so you'll want to make sure you choose a radio with enough power to reach the people you need to communicate with.

Most handheld marine radios have a wattage of 5 watts, which is typically enough to cover a range of about 5 miles.

It’s worth noting that the higher the wattage of your handheld marine radio, the higher the power consumption. 

Easy-to-use interface

You want to make sure that the radio is easy to use so that you can focus on enjoying your time on the water. There are a variety of radios on the market, so take some time to find one that feels right for you. And when in doubt, go with a simple, easy-to-use interface.

Compact and lightweight build

A good handheld marine radio will have a strong build that can withstand being dropped while on board. You'll also want to ensure it's small (while not compromising the display) and light enough to be easily carried around.

Multiple channel watch

As you shop for handheld marine radios, you'll want to consider the multiple channel watch (dual- and tri-watch models). These radios let you monitor multiple channels at the same time, which can be handy in a number of situations. 

Dual-watch radios allow you to monitor two channels at the same time. This is useful if you want to be able to monitor multiple distress signals or other channels of interest.

Tri-watch radios take things one step further and allow you to monitor three channels simultaneously. This is especially useful if you're operating in a crowded channel or if you need to monitor multiple distress signals simultaneously.

Noise cancellation 

If you spend time on a boat, you know there's always noise - from the waves, the wind, and the engine. And it can be tough to hear clearly on a handheld marine radio if the noise cancellation isn't up to par. 

That's why it's important that your handheld marine radio has reliable squelch functionality or reliable proprietary noise canceling technology.

Waterproofing and floatation

If you're looking for a radio that will stand up to the rigors of marine life, you'll want to consider waterproofing and floating as two of your main criteria.

A waterproof handheld marine radio is a must-have for any boater, as it will protect your investment from the elements. Floating is another important feature to look for in a handheld marine radio. If your radio falls overboard, you'll be glad it floats! 

Automatic weather alert

If you're an avid sailor, you know that staying up-to-date on the latest weather conditions is crucial. That's why you should consider investing in a handheld marine radio with automatic weather alerts. 

With this feature, you'll always be in the know when it comes to the latest forecast. This can help you make decisions about your sailing plans and ensure that you stay safe on the water.

What are the Accessories I Need for my Handheld Marine Radio?

Some people like to keep things minimalistic, but when it comes to your handheld marine radio, we say the more accessories, the merrier! 

In addition to your radio itself, you'll want to make sure you have a holder for it so you can keep your hands free while you're out on the water. A remote access microphone is also a great accessory, as it allows you to control your radio even when you're not beside it. And of course, you'll need batteries and a USB charger to keep your radio powered up.

With all of these accessories, you'll be ready for anything (and we mean anything) that comes your way while you're out on the open water.

How do I Care for my Handheld Marine Radio?

Your handheld marine radio is a critical piece of safety equipment that can be used in case of an emergency. It is important to care for your radio and keep it in good working condition. 

Here are some tips on how to properly care for your handheld marine radio:

  • Keep the radio clean and dry. Wipe the radio down with a damp cloth after each use.
  • Store the radio in a cool, dry place when not in use.
  • Check the batteries regularly and replace them as needed.
  • If the batteries are removable, remove them before storing your handheld marine radio. 
  • Inspect the radio regularly for any damage. If you find any damage, have the radio repaired by a qualified technician.


How often should I test my handheld marine radio?

A good rule of thumb is to test your handheld marine radio at least once a month. This way, you can be sure that it will work when you need it most.

Testing your handheld marine radio is easy and only takes a few minutes. First, ensure that the batteries are fresh and the radio is turned on. Then, tune to a clear channel and press the transmit button.

You should hear a loud, clear signal. If you don't, then your radio may need to be serviced.

What are the consequences of not having a handheld marine radio?

The consequences of not having a handheld marine radio can be serious. If you're out on the water and something goes wrong, you may be unable to call for help. This could lead to a dangerous situation.

Handheld marine radios are relatively inexpensive, and they can be a lifesaver. If you're going to be spending any time on the water, it's worth investing in one.

What should I do if I am having trouble with my handheld marine radio?

If you are having trouble with your handheld marine radio, there are a few things you can do to troubleshoot the issue.  

First, ensure that the radio is turned on and the batteries are charged. If the radio is turned on and the batteries are charged, try turning the radio off and then back on again. If the radio is still not working, try resetting the radio by pressing and holding the power button for 3 seconds.

If you are still having trouble with your radio, take it to a qualified technician for further assistance.

Related Conent and Marine Supplies

Boat Dock Bumpers Boat Cleaning Products Marine Toilets
Boat Navigation Lights Boat Anchor and Docking Marine Blog
Boat Accessories Ultimate Guide Marine Bumpers and Guards Flotation Suit
Anchor Rope Docking Buoys
Shallow Water Anchor Boat Dock Lines
Boating Supplies Boat Bow Thrusters
Fishfinder GPS Windlass Accessories
Type 1 Life Jacket Boat Adhesive and Sealant
Marine Electronics Zinc Anode For Boats
Waterproof First Aid Kit Marine Electronics Mounts
Night Vision For Boats Engine Controls
Boat Parts Store Windshield Wipers
Boat Tools Marine Autopilots
Marine Network Cables Boat Circuit Breakers
Marine Radar Systems Boat Fume Detectors
Boat Electrical Wire Management Best VHF Radio
Boat Hatch Lift Marine Alternators
Boat Mirrors Boat Electrical Accessories
Boat Horns Boat Battery Chargers
Non Skid Paint For Boats Boat Electrical Panels
Boat Propellers Marine Inverters Dock Cleats
Boat Winter Covers Marine Speakers
Marine VHF Radios Marine First Aid Kit
Boat Seating Underwater Lights for Boats
Trim Tabs For a Boat Boat Steering Systems
Marine Air Horn Dc to Dc Converter


Navigation Lights               

VHF Antenna    

Boating Emergency         

VHF Frequencies

Marine Speakers

Boat Accessories: The Ulitmate Guide