Best Marine Radio for Emergency | Compact VHF Radios

If you are a person who goes to the waters often, then you must be aware that good marine radio is a must take to any trip in the open waters.

A marine radio is a communication device that helps you in open waters. Sailors, kayakers, and fishers must have a good radio, in case of an emergency, which will help them get through the situation. In open waters, the radio signal might be compromised, but when lives are at stake, such a mishap can be lethal. A good marine radio must always have a long-range communication system.

best marine radios

As the name suggests, these radios are used in the waters, and thus it is necessary for these radios to be waterproof so that if tides hit the radios, they don’t corrode or go off. They vary in size, features, and ultimately in price as well.

The marine radios may be either handheld or fixed mount. The radios need to have a screen large enough and properly lit so that it can be used at any point of the day. Some of them give live weather alerts and also have GPS and DSC functions which are vital in an emergency situation or situation of distress.

To make your work easy I have done the research and listed out the 10 best marine radios. So let’s have a look at the best marine radio available in the market at your disposal.

You might also be interested to check the post on Best Night Vision Goggles for Long Distance View



best marine radio

If you looking for a marine radio which is both handy and compact in size then I recommend the Uniden MHS75 VHF marine radio for you and this one tops my list for its amazing features.

This handheld VHF marine radio makes it easy for you to stay connected and safe while at sea, and it can easily fit into your hands. The radio is pretty inexpensive and is recommended for people who don’t like to carry big bulky radios to the sea. They gives you access to all the USA, Canadian and international channels.

The black-colored Uniden MHS75 handheld waterproof 2-way VHF marine radio is JIS8 waterproof level, which means it can take tidal waves and is submersible under 5 feet for around half an hour’s time. The buttons of the radio are orange in color and so is the backlight of the LCD screen.

The radio is powered by an AA battery, which gives it a lifespan of 12 hours. This marine radio has 3 different power levels of 1 Watt, 2.5 Watts, and 6 Watts.

The Uniden MHS75 VHF marine radio covers all the USA, Canadian and international channels. The triple watch modes scrutinize the channels every couple of seconds. It is very compact and light, making it very portable. One main drawback of this radio is that it doesn’t feature GPS or DSC.


  • Dimensions of 6.4 x 6.2 x 3.4 inches.
  • Weighing 1.35 pounds.
  • JIS8 waterproof level.
  • Selectable transmit power.


  • Submersible radio.
  • Adjustable power.
  • Inexpensive.


  • No GPS or DSC.


best marine radio

The next in the list is the Cobra MR HH150 FLT marine radio. The Cobra MR HH150 FLT is also another handheld radio that sends you real-time emergency weather alerts and distress situation alarms when you’re in the waters.

The radio is waterproof and features both short and long-range communication. The radio floats on water as the orange backlight of the screen makes it easily distinguishable. The screen displays the charge status and the results of the scans.

The radio is powered by five AAA batteries and it is recommended to keep a pair of AAA batteries in case of emergency. The batteries are rechargeable. The radio gives access to all the USA, Canadian and international channels. It provides real-time NOAA weather channels and alerts of change in weather conditions or other situations of distress. 

The Cobra MR HH150 FLT is JIS7 waterproof level. It gives you 30 minutes of protection at the depth of 1 meter in water. This radio gives access to channel 16/9 for emergency situations and you can easily scan the channel with the push of a single button.


  • Dimensions of 1.5 x 2.7 x 4.5 inches.
  • Weighing 2.4 ounces.
  • Selectable power settings.
  • Emergency weather alerts.


  • Waterproof, submersible.
  • NOAA, international weather alerts.
  • Long-range VHF radio.


  • If water seeps on the sides, it might corrode.


best marine radio

Another radio from Uniden in the list of the best marine radio is the Uniden Atlantis 155 VHF marine radio. This is really a robust radio which meets the hardest water-resistant standards and clears the speaker with the vibrating tone, once submerged in water. The structure of the radio is very solid and is meant to last for years.

This radio is powered by four AAA 950 mAh NiMH rechargeable batteries and a DC cable is also included in the entire kit. The battery life of the radio is 10 hours. The handheld radio is compact and light, the backlit LCD is easy to use.

The LCD has multiple backlights and you can choose which color to use according to your need. It is very light as well, making it portable.

The radio receives all NOAA weather channels and alerts. The radio has a floating design and can work for half an hour under 5 feet of water. The radio features an emergency strobe light and flashlight for distress situations. The radio gives access to all USA, Canadian, and international marine channels.


  • Dimensions of 10.8 x 4.5 x 2 inches .
  • Weighing 1.08 pounds.
  • Dual coloured screen.
  • NOAA weather alerts.


  • Dual coloured screen.
  • 10-hour battery life.
  • NOAA weather alerts.


  • Battery replacement is not feasible.


best marine radio

The Standard Horizon HX870 is the next radio in the list of the best marine radio. This handheld radio is waterproof and is considered as the best marine radio for its features.

The VHF radio also features GPS and DSC functionalities. The radio floating type designed type and is compact and light, thus you can carry it to all kinds of boats. It is also known for its long-range.

It consists of a 66 channel WAAS GPS receiver, which enables you to send out a DSC distress message and send your location’s coordinates. It features a 2.3-inch full dot matrix LCD screen which makes the radio easy to use.

The radio is powered by a long-lasting 1800 mAh Lithium-ion battery. The only problem with the screen is that the backlight is not good enough to be used at night.

The marine radio is JIS8 waterproof level and even after getting completely submerged into the water, it does not get damaged. The radio can work for up to half an hour under 4.92 feet of water. Whenever you drop it on the water a strobe light automatically turns on, making it easier for you to find.


  • Dimensions of 9.5 x 3.5 x 7.5 inches.
  • JIS8 waterproof.
  • Weighing 2 pounds.
  • Integrated with 66 channel WAAS.


  • Full dot matrix display.
  • Water-activated strobe light.
  • Integrated 66 channel WAAS receiver.


  • Battery power could have been better.


best marine radio

The Cobra MR HH350 FLT marine radio is a compact, long-range handheld radio with floating design and is completely submersible. The buttons are orange in color and so is the backlight of the screen, it also floats on water, thus if you drop is somewhere, it is very easily distinguishable.

It is JIS7 level waterproof and is submerged under 3 feet of water for half an hour’s time.

The radio has variable transmission power and you can choose between 1 Watt, 3 Watts and 6 Watts of power to operate the radio. There is a BURP function which will remove any water present in the speaker with a vibration. Tri-watch enables you to watch all three channels at the same time.

The VHF marine radio gives you access to all the USA, Canadian, and international marine channels. It boasts infinite memory to enable channel recall very easily.

The radio is powered by a Lithium polymer battery. The battery life span is 8 hours. The radio has access to 10 NOAA weather channels and provides you with real-time weather alerts.

The radio has access to the 16/9 channel as well, it sounds alarms if there is any weather alert, monitoring the 3 channels. You can also connect an additional microphone.


  • Dimensions of 2.1 x 2.7 x 4.8 inches.
  • Weighing 9.6 ounces.
  • Orange core for visibility.
  • Unlimited memory channels.


  • Tri watch system.
  • BURP feature.
  • Orange core for visibility.


  • No USB-B or C port.


best marine radio

One more Uniden product in the list of the best marine radio is the Uniden UM385BK fixed-mount marine VHF radio. The brand and its products are synonymous with the word reliable. This radio is different from the rest of the radios because this is a fixed mount, whereas the previous radios were all handheld. 

The UM385 boasts triple watch features which enables you to monitor the 3 channels simultaneously and has access to all international marine channels. It is equipped with S.A.M.E. weather alert and has DSC capabilities.

The radio complies with IPX4 waterproof standards and can be submerged for half an hour under 4.9 feet of water. It is made up of premium materials and is very durable.

The best feature of this marine radio is that it contains a distress button and a position send button. The radio enables you to send an emergency call with full Class D DSC ability. The connection sound is enhanced by the antenna.

This radio has a robust handheld microphone that transmits signals perfectly. The screen has dual backlight colors, white for the day, and orange at night for proper visibility.


  • Dimensions of 5.0 x 6.3 x 2.6 inches.
  • Weighing 3.55 pounds.
  • IPX4 waterproof.
  • DSC.


  • S.A.M.E. weather alert.
  • Reliable DSC.
  • Fixed-mount.


  • Numbers and letters are difficult to a readout.


best marine radio

The Standard Horizon HX300 VHF handheld marine radio is a premium quality marine radio, made of high-quality materials. It is considered to be one of the smallest and lightest marine radios available in the market to date.

The radio is powered by a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery which has a battery life of 10 hours and has its own USB charging system and 110-volt adapter as well. The small size of the battery makes the device more compact and light, and thus portable. 

The  IPX8 is a rated waterproof, which means the handheld radio can be submerged under 5 feet of water for as long as half an hour’s time. The radio is designed in such a way that it floats on water. Also, when the marine radio falls on water, a LED automatically starts flashing.

The radio possesses a very user-friendly interface and you can change the settings according to your needs and preferences. The buttons and the screen are well lit and the buttons and the screen light up at night for your ease.

It gives you access to the USA, Canadian, and international marine channels. The radio has NOAA channels and gives you real-time weather updates and alerts. It can also access to the 16/9 channel and send priority signals.

With the help of the dual/ triple watch and thus it enables you to monitor two or three channels simultaneously.


  • Dimensions of 9 x 3 x 6 inches.
  • Weighing 1.2 pounds.
  • Dual/ triple watch.
  • IPX8 rated waterproof.


  • IPX8 waterproof.
  • User-friendly interface.


  • Short battery lifespan.


best marine radio

Featuring a 3 inch LCD screen, this Standard Horizon GX1600B Explorer VHF marine radio is also one of the best marine radio in the list. The LCD screen is big which enables you to see whatever is written on the screen, very clearly and easily. The screen settings and brightness can be easily changed according to your needs and preferences.

The RAM3+ remote microphone is capable to control the VHF and DSC functions.

The features a 70 channel receiver which complies with the Class D DSC regulations. The best part is that it contains a GPS and can send the coordinates of your location. The microphone has a noise reduction technology which is very effective.

The radio gives you access to channel 16/9, Canadian marine channels, and NOAA weather channels. It gives you real-time weather alerts and updates.

It consists of three programmable buttons and one preset channel. The radio is waterproof and complies with JIS8 waterproof levels. The Explorer is capable of entering and saving up to 100 waypoints. These waypoints may be selected and navigated to by using a unique navigation compass display.


  • Dimensions of 9 x 4 x 9 inches.
  • Weighing 5 pounds.
  • Large LCD screen.
  • GPS.


  • Auto DSC channel change.
  • Large 3 inch LCD.


  • Difficult to program the device.


best marine radio

The next radio on the list is the M330G Icom VHF marine radio. It is a fixed mount marine radio that is robust and gives you high performance. The marine is made compact so that it can fit into tight spaces and doesn’t take up a lot of and weighs only 0.16 ounces.

The radio is waterproof and complies with the IPX7 waterproof rating. It is equipped with an ‘AquaQuake’ draining function. It features a large 3.4-inch screen and thus you can see everything on the screen easily.

It also features with GPS receiver and GPS antenna which is very easy to install. The GPS sends the coordinates of your location in real-time. It also features a DSC and standard NMEA cable. It is featured with dual and triple watch functions which enable you to monitor the two channels or three channels simultaneously. The user-friendly interface makes it easy for you to use.

The large 3.4-inch dot matrix display screen is trouble-free to read. The arrangement of the buttons is very simple, which makes it easy for you to operate.


  • Dimensions of 18.5 x 4.3 x 9.5 inches.
  • Weighing 0.16 ounces.
  • Dual/ tri watch function.
  • IPX7 waterproof rating.


  • User-friendly interface.
  • AquaQuake draining function.


  • Conventional design.


best marine radio

The last marine radio in this list of the best marine radio is the Garmin VHF 110. The marine radio is very reliable and transmits 25 Watt power. It is very easy to install and the user-friendly interface makes it very easy for you to use.

The radio gives you access to all the USA, Canadian and international marine channels. It also provides you with real-time weather alerts and access to 10 NOAA channels.

The fixed mount marine VHF radio comes with plug and plays technology via the NMEA 2000 network. It is equipped with Standard Class D DSaC functionality for distress calling and direct calling with user-programmable MMSI.


  • Dimensions of 10.3 x 9 x 6.4 inches.
  • Weighing 4.5 pounds.
  • Standard Class D DSC.
  • 10 NOAA weather channels.


  • Easy to install.
  • DSC functionality.


  • No GPS.


This was my list of the best marine radio available in the market. This list contains the advantages, disadvantages, and the feature characteristics of the listed marine radios, and hopefully, this list will help you choose a marine radio, whenever you decide to get one.

Share your views on the comment section. Happy reading.!


Hey, this is Martin from San Diego. I am a tech enthusiast and I love to test and review all the gadgets. I have reviewed 100s of products in my lifetime. I just want to ensure our readers to buy the best product for the money they spend.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments

Leave a Reply: