Marine-band VHF 1 radio is a means by which vessels can communicate with radio stations ashore and on other vessels.
A range of channels is available, with specific permitted uses in each case; for example, those channels allocated to port operations and ship movement may only be used on matters concerning navigation, vessel operations and safety. Other channels are allocated for inter-ship use, safety transmissions and contacting marinas.
The system is effective over short distances, up to a maximum of 100km or so at sea, depending on the height of your antenna, but often much less inland, where the local lie of the land, buildings and so on limit reception.
A vessel equipped with a marine-band VHF radio is known as a Ship Radio Station and the radio allows the navigator to listen to broadcast messages, to call other ship or shore stations or groups of ship stations and to broadcast distress, urgency and safety messages.
To keep the system workable and ensure that essential messages get through, there are protocols to observe when using the radio and you need to be qualified to do so, which ensures that you have received some basic training. However, gaining an operator’s certificate is not at all difficult or expensive and presents no problems to the average inland waterways leisure craft user.