VHF Radio Etiquette

VHF Radio Etiquette

VHF Radio is an important element in your boating experience. It is the tool through which you’re kept informed about changing weather conditions. It offers you access to instant information that’s necessary to your sailing. Whether the weather is bad, there’s traffic or some hazard on the way, the VHF radio comes to your rescue in all of those instances.

With the VHF radio, you can rest assured that you’re connected to professionals looking out for you. Also, in cases of emergency when you’re far out on the sea, the radio is how you can connect back to the base and request for help.

This makes it highly necessary that you know the etiquette guiding the use of the radio. The radio might feel exciting, but it is not a toy. It is not something you can use as you please. There has to be a way, guiding your usage. This is why there are regulations guiding the use of the radio.

To ensure that people abide by the rules, there are fines for the wrong use of the radio. These fines help secure compliance on the part of the users. That way, you know you cannot play with your radio. The reason for this is that the radio is a serious element. Since it deals with serious issues like hazards and weather conditions, the boat authorities cannot afford cases where there are fake alarms.

This will reduce the efficiency of the radio. As such, with rules in place, the authorities can rest assured that all voices that come through the radio are reporting something important and serious. This gives their actions accurate direction.


There are standard ways to communicate using the VHF radio. Start by putting the radio on through the knob. Keep turning the knob till the static no longer makes the sound. Once it stops, tune the radio to channel 16, which is the channel that the marine authorities monitor.

Before leaving the shore, perform a check on the Radio to ensure that it’s in perfect condition. You can do this using other channels except channel 16 so that you don’t cause a false alarm. Test the radio and be sure the other person hears you from their end. This is to ensure that the radio is in good condition and useful for you.

Listen well and carefully. It is important that you first listen to the radio to check if there is an existing communication. This is to make sure you do not interrupt if there is one. Put the radio to watt-power and get the microphone set. By keying the microphone, it makes it ready for use. Always ensure you radio-check 3 times by stating your name and location the 3 times.

After calling and checking in, you’ll have to wait for a response to be sure someone heard your call. Remember that for communication establishment, the channel frequency to call for VHF is channel 16. Once communication is established, you can carry on with what you need to report if there is one. You can also use the radio with other channels, as well as other boats.