Marine VHF Radio, a Must Have Piece of Kit for Both Sea Kayakers and Kayak Fisherman
One of the most popular sea based pastimes to grow over the last decade is Kayaking and a popular section of this hobby is kayak fishing. An important consideration for Sea Kayakers is to make sure that they are safe, visible and can communicate should they get into trouble. That is why so many Sea Kayakers make a VHF radio one of the most important items of equipment they carry out to sea.
Keith Ward is a member of the Ocean Kayak UK Fishing Team
which was formed in 2014 to promote Ocean Kayaks and the safe and responsible use of fishing kayaks in UK waters. Each team member is a respected kayak angler having won or featured on the leader board on most of the kayak fishing competitions and British UK kayak fishing championships.
The Ocean Kayak Fishing Team use Icom's IC-M23
, a small lightweight durable waterproof VHF handheld radio. It has great battery life and is quickly recharged through its securely sealed waterproof charging port.
Being a VHF radio advocate, Keith offers advice about why they are so important when venturing out to sea.
Keith said, ‘Sit on tops are the fastest growing sales area in kayaks and the opportunity of both shore and boat anglers to reach inaccessible or otherwise unreachable marks without a small manoeuvrable craft has not been lost on them. The safety aspect of having a communication system which is both durable and waterproof cannot be overstated and having VHF for an emergency situation where the assistance of the coastguard or RNLI is required goes without saying.’
He added, ‘VHF radios are so much more than that though. As anglers we use them to communicate throughout the day on all aspects of our trips. Whether it be to warn of changing weather conditions, tidal streams or incoming vessels down to conveying messages about moving positions they are a useful piece of kit to have at hand throughout the day. In competitions marshals use them to monitor boundaries or for kayakers to seek the assistance of safety boats.’
He said, ‘Kayak anglers are generally self sufficient, carrying a lightweight waterproof VHF attached to your PFD should you become separated from your craft is an essential piece of kit. The use of VHF can often be the difference between an inconvenience becoming an emergency. The ability to hail a small boat just a mile away to assist with minor incidents prevents them escalating. Broken paddles, minor injuries and in some cases I've seen extreme sea sickness can be dealt with quickly and efficiently.’
‘After a quick call to the coastguard to advise them of your paddle plan the VHF remains a convenient means of communication throughout the day. They should not be used for chit chat but for keeping groups together, offering advice on venues and locations is always useful as is informing fellow kayakers of your intention to return to shore or move location.’
‘I was able to summon assistance to a youth in an inflatable dingy drifting out to sea and remain with them whilst awaiting the arrival of a boat to help. An easy operation with the VHF. Using a mobile in these situations just doesn't cut it. Having to rely on someone both answering the call and effectively relaying the information, and that’s if you've got a signal, would have invariably led to delays.’
‘Whilst dressing for the conditions and wearing a suitable buoyancy aid are top of the list their effectiveness is limited if you are then unable to summon assistance…a VHF is a must have piece of kit for both sea kayakers and kayak fisherman.’
For more information about Ocean Kayak UK Fishing Team, visit their website at http://www.oceankayakukfishingteam.co.uk/
For further kayak safety advice, the RNLI have produced a very useful brochure which can be downloaded from: http://rnli.org/SiteCollectionDocuments/Beach-safety-Kayaking-Safety-Leaflet-A5.pdf
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