Skip to main content
Column 1 Column 2
Username: {$username} Staffid: {$staffid}

 2023 Marine VHF Radios in South Africa


Are you confused about VHF Radios? DSC, SRC, VHF, MMSI, ICASA, Wondering WTF is going on? Then read on and all will be revealed!

The subject of VHF Radios for Marine use became a very hot topic of debate way back in.....well a long time ago to be honest. I remember writing numerous articles and giving presentations at Boat Shows stating that it was imminent VHF Radios would become law on any vessels above and including a category D who knows it may even include category E vessels. Here we are again in 2022 edit 2023 :) and finally I can say with confidence (puts on tin hat) that when you do your next COF you will definitely require a VHF DSC Radio and both you and the Radio will need to be licenced. That doesn't mean get a Radio and don't do the SRC (Short Range Certificate) course. Everything will be checked to make sure you comply. If you own a Category E vessel you may also not be able to launch at a launch site if the launch site says you do require a  VHF Radio. Yes the decision is up to the launch site on a CAT E vessel! Again you don't just require a DSC enabled VHF Radio. It must be licenced and you must be licenced to operate the Radio. If you have a CAT E vessel make sure you check with the launch site before you travel. Some of the Launch Sites I know where you need a VHF Radio even for CAT E are as follows....Durban, Umhlanga, Ballito, St Lucia, Warner Beach, Rocky Bay, Shelly Beach, Port Edward. However like I said check before you travel!

South Africa has had to implement the use of VHF Radios to fall in line with international Maritime Regulations. So now its law let's look at some of the advantages of owning a VHF Radio. 

  • First and foremost of course is safety. You have the option to use voice calling on channel 16 to get help or use the DSC channel 70 facility.
  • You can use the working channels to communicate with other vessels. Lets face it there's no point in leaving the Radio switched off all the time because if everyone did that who would hear you if you were in trouble?
  • Radios become a habit. Use them but don't abuse them. They are there to assist you and maybe save your life one day!

In the early days I was a big believer in using a Hand Held Radio on a Jetski. Mainly due to the fact that if you have your Radio attached to you and you fall off your Jetski it could save your life one day. Fast forward years later and the Base Mount VHF Radios are a lot smaller and can even fit easily in a Cubby Hole and there really is no excuse not to install a Fixed Base Unit. We don't moan and make excuses when we install a Fish Finder! I'm not saying don't use a Hand Held as a back up, however I think a Base Mount is now in 2023 the way forward. Oh yes and I nearly forgot about the Aerial, Ariel, Arial, Antenna or whatever its called. No longer do we need a 1.8 metre ugly Antenna as we can now have a 1.2 metre and even a detachable 45cm or 25cm and even a tiny Dorsal Antenna. My personal testing of these Antennas has been nothing short of an amazing reception compared to a 5 or 6 watt Hand Held Radio.

 M93D web M93D web380 icom m330ge vhf radio

Advantages of a Base Mount DSC Radio 

  • 25 watt of transmitting power, as opposed to a Hand Held which is 5 or 6 watt. 

  • Small and compact. Ideal for a Jetski. Models like the  ICOM M330GE seen here M330 

  • Antennas come in a range of sizes. Smaller Antennas mean they do not hinder your fishing but increase your safety due to covering a wider area.

  • An emergency call will be heard by anyone litening in to channel 16 in the area should you require help.

  • Radios are constructed to handle the harsh environments we subject them to.

  • Base mount 25 watt Marine Radios have a range up to about 50kms if set up correctly and using the correct Antenna.

  • Easy to install especially if the PL259 Screw in connector is alreadt attached.

  • Built in DSC facility on high end models to assist in finding you in an emergency situation by transmitting your details and GPS co ordinates.

 M93D web 380 380

Advantages of a Hand Held VHF Radio

  • In all honesty there are very few advantages of a Hand Held Marine VHF Radio now. However the most important advantage of a Hand Held Radio is that if you fall overboard and you have your Radio with you it could save you. You may not have the range as the Hand Held is only 5 watts with very limited range, however you do have the DSC button! If you press that any vessels near by would recieve your distress signal and your gps co ordinates.
  • Cost would be an advantage as Hand Held units are generally lower in price however the gap has now closed if you compare a DSC Hand Held Radio to a Base Mount DSC enabled Radio.

 Bottom line is Marine VHF radios are now law and they are here to stay. They are for our safety so lets use them but not abuse them.

You can buy your VHF Radios from my website here BUY VHF RADIOS   VHF DSC Radio

Tight Lines 


Questions? Whatsap me 072 938 1769 

Lowrance, South Africa, Durban, Jetski Fishing, Jetski, VHF, RADIO, DSC, SRC

Chom Chom Roller