From Labour weekend 2014 new navigation safety bylaws will be put in place to ensure safety for all craft and personnel on water. Changes to the bylaw have made it compulsory to wear a lifejacket when on board a vessel six metres or under in length and every boat is now required to carry a communication device at all times. The bylaw also stipulates that it will be an offence for anyone to be in charge of a vessel that is intoxicated by alcohol or drugs and will improve the management systems for mooring.
It's surprising how many people are still shocked when their phones stop working after taking it out on the water with them. Your phone is going to encounter water at some stage, if not completely get lost overboard and unfortunately they have yet to come up with a waterproof mobile phone that floats. Relying solely on your mobile phone is not going to be the smartest option when it’s so easy to lose overboard or encounter areas where there isn’t any reception. Mobile phones these days average around the thousand dollar price range. Such an investment should not be risked ending up on the ocean floor to join countless others. Nor will a mobile phone be much assistance in an emergency if it’s been placed in a waterproof bag and you have to unzip it, enter your passcode to unlock it and then dial the buttons for help. Mobile phones are definitely no substitute for a handheld VHF radio.
Water Safety New Zealand recommends two reliable forms of communication should be carried every time you go out on your boat. Mobile phones should only be used as a secondary backup form of communication and should not be solely relied upon. "A hand-held waterproof marine VHF radio is the most reliable forms of communication currently available to boaties. Using a VHF radio means that other vessels in the area will often hear a distress message and be the first on the scene" says Water Safety New Zealand. The best possible option to accommodate the communications aspect of the new bylaw and save your mobile phone from drowning is to carry one of Icom’s highly rated VHF handheld radios.
Globally recognised as one of the leading providers of radio communication devices, Icom radios are made in Japan within a strict quality control environment. Icom is the official radio supplier of Coastguard Boating Education where all new boaties get trained on safe boating practices. Icom’s best selling VHF handheld radio, the IC-M23, is a must have when out on the water. You don’t have to worry about it going overboard like you do with your phone and if it does, it’s waterproof, floats on its back and flashes even when the battery is off! Its unique flashing feature could even be spotted from a rescue helicopter at night if you’ve found yourself in a sticky situation. Water Safety New Zealand maintains that "every boat with a VHF radio should stay tuned to Channel 16, the distress channel, while at sea to provide the best possible safety network for all." Smaller and lighter than any other marine handheld radio on the market, the IC-M23 is able to provide one touch access to Channel 16. Distress calls can be made at the push of a button unlike a mobile phone where you have to dial numerous numbers for help if needed.
Icom’s IC-M23 has a tough, submersible construction which is equivalent to IPX7 (it can withstand up to one metre depth of water for 30 minutes). The unique AquaQuake draining function vibrates water from the speaker grill to keep the radio dry and ensures clear sound.
Many boaties have a fixed VHF radio mounted on their dashboards. However, if the radio or battery is swamped with a large amount of water, it stops working instantly. Icom's IC-M304 VHF Marine Transceiver combats this issue by being IP67 rated which means it can withstand the submersion of up to one metre depth of water for half an hour. The IC-M304 has the new Force5Audio speaker that delivers impressive audio output with powerful bass. Like the IC-M23, it has AquaQuake to eject excess water from the speaker grill. With proven durability and reliability, the IC-M304 is available in black, white and grey with an optional cover. Submersible with a compact body, large LCD and powerful audio, the IC-M304 is the ideal dashboard mount radio.
Staple items on the water as mobile phones are on land be sure to make Icom’s IC-M23 and IC-M304 your next purchase this boating season. Contact Icom NZ directly on 0800 744 062 for your nearest dealer or browse Icom’s full range of marine radios on www.icom.co.nz to make sure you have an Icom radio with you the next time you go out on the water. For more information on the new marine bylaw taking effect, visit Auckland Council’s website on www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz and be sure to have a safe boating season this year!