Foghorn Feature on VHF Radios

State-of-the-art VHFs offer a foghorn feature when connected to an external hailer.

A foghorn feature is essential for boaters' VHF radios.Jim Hendricks / Sport Fishing

Navigating in dense fog requires 100 percent of your ­attention to monitor the radar, keep an eye on the AIS and listen for noises such as approaching craft, the sound of a buoy or crashing waves on a jetty, not to mention pilot the boat. That’s why a VHF radio with an automatic foghorn feature can be a great — I say essential — safety feature when it’s socked in. State-of-the-art VHFs such as the Icom M605 (about $800) and Standard Horizon GX2200 Matrix AIS (about $320) offer automated foghorns when connected to an external hailer. You can select from foghorn modes for use while underway, stopped or on anchor. There’s also a listen-back feature that amplifies sounds such as other boats and aids to navigation.