COMMSNauticalia Walkie-Talkies
During my last trip on the liveaboard Hurricane in the Red Sea, I noticed that Grant, the dive-guide, was talking to the driver of the pick-up boat from the diving deck via what seemed to be a rather toy-like walkie-talkie. He told me that tour operator Tony Backhurst had sent them to him from England, and that they had proved invaluable.
Because all the other boats in the area were using Marine VHF, there were often problems with interference on air-waves loaded with heavy traffic. Thats not something encountered with these little babies.
They even have 304 dedicated channels from which to select, so if all the other boat operators caught on to the idea, it still wouldnt be a problem. They were also really cheap!
Grant went on to tell me that not only did they have a stand-by time approaching 22 hours and sufficient range (about two miles) to do the job, but they were so simple that even a child could use one. I can confirm this. Shortly after unwrapping the parcel in which a pair was delivered to me, my five-year-old daughter was calling me up from the garden.
Lets get it straight: these do not replace a good marine VHF radio as an emergency calling device. They are simply to be used by two parties who expect to be calling each other.
So the pick-up boat driver and a crew-member on a liveaboard can keep in touch, as can two groups on different RIBs diving in the same vicinity.
People who go ashore can keep in touch with those left to mind the boat, and even people travelling by way of two cars can keep line-of-sight contact without incurring big telephone bills or CB breakers on the side.
These walkie-talkies do not conform to the description of a mobile phone, either, so you can use one while driving as legally as you can eat an apple.
These walkie-talkies are very lightweight, and covered in a grippy rubber material, so they are quite resistant to being dropped as long as it is not into the sea! That said, dont do it!
As usual with electronic devices that come, presumably, from China, the instructions are unreadable. However, I soon got the hang of changing the channel-selector and, of course, there is the usual press-to-speak button.
It took me a little longer to find out how to switch the unit off. I checked with Tony Backhurst and it seems that the Hurricane crew are still Walkie-Talkies from Nauticalia cost £40, including a charger and charging base, two units and two sets of batteries.
  • Nauticalia 0870 906 5090,

  • Divernet
    + Cheap
    + Effective

    - No good for marine emergencies