Is he new here?
You are never more than 72 miles from the sea here!
You can use that one if it goes quiet in the snug!
Line of sight is taken from the top of your antenna to the top of the other station.
So if you were a coastguard station with an antenna some 200 feet up your range would be preety good.
If your using your hand held then range is limited.
As suggested a scaner with a decnet outside anteena would give the best results from home, you are also then not just limited to the marine chit chat.
They take a dim view of marine radio used in land if it is not for a legit reason.
Hope that helps a bit and hopefully David Brooks can give you some pointers too