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Basic Boating Equipment

Electronic Communication

Best communication devices to be carried on all vessels. Includes VHF radios, EPIRBs and considerations for phones

Electronic Communication

Always carry two forms of communication, including options to keep them waterproof in an emergency.

All vessels should carry a VHF radio, distress beacons (EPIRB or PLB), and a cellphone in a waterproof bag.

VHF Radios

A VHF radio should be carried on all vessels and is the recommended first choice of communication in emergencies.

It is important to note that permanently mounted VHF radios with dedicated external aerials offer much-improved performance over a handheld VHF radio. However, waterproof handheld VHF radios are an excellent backup option, especially in small tenders or situations where a permanently mounted VHF is not an option.

Use channel 16 for all emergency communications.

Mobile phone

Mobile phones are a helpful backup option to VHF radios; however, mobile coverage is often poor or non-existent in coastal regions of New Zealand.

Always be sure to include a waterproofing option for your mobile phone. Dedicated covers can be purchased, or opt for a zip-lock plastic bag for emergencies.


All vessels should consider carrying electronic distress beacons such as an EPIRB or PLB (Personal Locator Beacon).

Today, they are comparatively inexpensive and can be a lifesaver anywhere in the world.

It is a legal requirement to register your EPIRB. It is a simple process completed online at

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