Originally Posted by Polwart
The entry level standard horizon HX280 should be absolutely fine for what you've asked for. Roughly how far out will this be useful for? 5 - 6miles?
Essentially the range is going to be determined by the height of the "other" station. If you are talking to another handheld on a RIB then you'll probably not get as far as 6 miles reliably. If you're talking to a yacht with an aerial at the top of their mast you should manage OK. You should manage 6 miles to a coastguard mast - assuming there are no headlands/hills etc in the way.
Also am i right in thinking we only need a licence from ofcom or do i need a certificate too, would only be for emergencies? Thanks
You need two bits of paper.
(1) a license for the boat/radio.
As I understand it if the boat has a valid license for a fixed radio then you can carry a handheld on that vessel without a further license. This would still cover you if you got off the main vessel onto a second boat (e.g. off a safety boat onto a dinghy) provided the main boat was still in the viscinity. If the main vessel doesn't have a fixed radio you need your own license - its free from Ofcom so no great issue.
(2) a license for the operator.
You'll need to do the RYA course. Technically if you are only ever transmitting in an emergency you might not, but you want to make sure you know how to use your radio properly before you find yourself trying to do it in the water! So it makes sense to use if sooner anyway - do you not discuss mark positions or safety boat instructions anyway?