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Marine radio systems

VHF radio system for maritime radio and inland waterway radio

For communication and safety on board recreational vessels, the German Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH) recommends equipping them with a VHF radio system with DSC (digital selective calling) for near-coastal voyages. 

Note: All skippers are required to have a radio certificate in order to operate a boat radio system.


How the VHF radio system works

In international VHF maritime radio, a distress call on channel 16 reaches all ships and coastal radio stations within a radius of approx. 30 nm (approx. 56 km), depending on the antenna height. The distress alarm via DSC on channel 70 has approx. 20 % more range. With the introduction of the GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress and Safety System), all VHF marine radios are equipped with DSC, meanwhile even with integrated GPS, so that in case of distress at sea, the DistDistress DSC alarm with the following contents is transmitted just by pressing the Distress key:

  • MMSI number (=vessel identification number)
  • Position (Lat/Lon
  • Time (in UTC)
  • As an additional option, the type of distress can be selected via the menu


Tip: The own mobile phone is not suitable as a substitute, on the one hand because of the low range and on the other hand it is always a 1:1 connection where the telephone number must be known.