Friday, 20 September 2013

Icom IC-M23 VHF Marine Radio

Safety is paramount and the most important priority to consider when going out to sea kayak fishing.  Although I study several weather and shipping forecasts prior to any trip I can never really be 100% sure what may happen when I am out there.  The Cornish coast is like any coast, it can change very quickly and unexpectedly.

Since taking up kayak fishing, I have acquired several safety items for that 'just in case situation'.  For example, suitable clothing, a spare paddle, a paddle float to assist re-entry, a throw line attached to my waist to ensure contact with the kayak in the event of a capsize, a first aid box, a whistle, a knife to cut myself free in the event of entanglement, a bilge pump, a compass, and a GPS navigation device.

To date, most of my kayak fishing trips has been solo.  One vital piece of safety equipment was missing from my list, suitable communication!  A mobile phone in a dry bag seems a good idea except if there are signal problems or the phone gets wet in a capsize situation rendering it useless.

To solve that 'just in case' communication problem I have now purchased an Icom IC-M23 Bouyant VHF Marine Handheld Radio.

In the event of a capsize, the radio is waterproof when fully submerged for up to 30 minutes and is designed to float and flash when in water.  It is small measuring only 13cm in height and small enough to fit in the right pocket of my Palm Kaikoura Tour PFD.  The pocket is designed for a VHF radio therefore, an ideal place to store it.


In case of an emergency requiring assistance, I could contact the coast guard and other vessels by sending a distress call on channel 16.  In addition, a recently purchased handheld GPS would enable me to give my current coordinates thus assisting any rescue team in finding me.

However, before being able to use the radio legally I have to obtain an operator's license by attending a one-day marine radio and GMDSS course at my local Truro College at a cost of £80 plus £30 for the certificate.  I have booked myself on the next available course in a couple of week's time. 

The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is an international system, which uses terrestrial and satellite technology and shipboard radio-systems to ensure rapid and automated alerting of shore based communication and rescue authorities.  The communication also goes out to ships in the immediate vicinity in the event of a marine distress.

Although I will not be taking any more chances with the sea the addition of the VHF radio has definitely given me more confidence that should I find myself in a distress situation I now have suitable back up to call upon.


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