Purchasing a radio system for your boat is a sign of trust in a brand. Radio systems have saved many lives, as boat owners rely on them for communication and information retrieval when on the water. Choosing the correct radio system takes some careful consideration.
Marine radio installation also requires an adept hand, so if you don’t have the appropriate skills, rely on professionals to do the work for you.
This list showcases the top three marine radio systems and companies out there. There is something for everyone, as it features different price points, ranges, and capacities.
ICOM Marine Radios consistently top “best of” lists citing great range, affordability, and durability. Their fix-mount radios are compact, with LCD screens and very good waterproofing.
The ICOM IC-M506 is their top of the range offer, featuring a built-in Automatic Identification System (AIS) that will place nearby vessels in your display, a rare addition for marine radio systems.
Apart from the IC-M506, ICOM offers many other radio systems that are still impressive at affordable prices.
Garmin is a well-known industry leader in the GPS market, meaning that it is well trusted by boat owners at the time of fitting sonar, GPS, and radio systems in their boats. Apart from great fishfinding and GPS technologies, Garmin offers reliable Very High Frequency (VHF) radios that allow for communication with radio controllers and nearby friends and boaters.
Their full range of radios differs in terms of extra perks and range. However, all of them are compatible with other Garmin accessories such as antennas, AIS systems, and remote stations.
Ranging from the most basic VHF 110i to the ultra-luxurious VHF 315i and depending on your budget and boating needs, they are bound to have an option for you at an appropriate price.
3. Standard Horizon
Standard Horizon offers both handheld and fixed mount radios, their products offer reliable communication, with extra accessories such as built-in GPS, memory for 100 waypoints and a high level of waterproofing.
The GX1700W, their flagship model, boasts many of these features and more, making it one of the better radios in the market. However, it is on the pricier side, making it an inaccessible option for many boat owners.
Buying a radio system is difficult. One must balance costs with the risk of relying on bad technology. As always with marine equipment, be it radio or marine stereo installation, it is best to rely on professional help than to wing it, as badly installed or chosen equipment can malfunction and can turn out to be expensive to fix.
As with anything, relying on trusted brands that have a long history of reliable service to the industry is often a prudent choice.