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This is my 1st year of actually owning a boat and I have already signed up for Sea Tow. My question is about contacting them. If I am 30 or 40 miles out (not that I ever will be, but who knows) and i need to contact them, what is the range on a cell phone or vhf transmission? Is there cellphone transmitter's mounted on bouys or is a person out of luck if they are too far out?
 

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If your radio can't reach them someone will usually help relay a message for you. If not the coast guard has very high antenae and they will help with transmission. Cell phone probably will not work that far out. Someone on 16 should help.
 

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i never got anyone on land on my vhf more than 35 miles out as far as a cellphone i think i got service like 10 or 15 out once on a crystal clear day
thats why i bought an ssb radio expensive but worth it when ur far off
 

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You only call one person on a cell phone,and it has very limited range at sea. You call everyone on channel 16. You have a much better chance of someone hearing you on the radio.
 

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If you need Sea Tow...it's a non-distress situation so just keep calling and most of the time someone will answer to relay your request.

My guess is you should look into your radio and antenna as both Sea Smart (owned by Sea Tow) ship to shore radio antennas and the USCG's Rescue 21 system should easily get a good performing radio out to 35 miles....especially if in a 35 NM radius of the Ocean City / Sea Isle area / Cape May area as there are @! and Sea Smart Antennas down that way for sure.

You could always sign up for Sea Smart and use your cell phone...butkeep calling and someone will answer.

If no one answers after several hours and either it's getting late or the weather is in question...set off your EPIRB and the USCG will locate you and dispatch Sea Tow.

You best be calling for awhile though if you go that route...as EPIRBs are for emergency use...but I'll be the first to back you up if you honestly tried calling for hours and hours and no one answered...in my book...that's becoming a serious situation and if the EPIRB is your next option...I'd use it.
 

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Capt. Scott. Whats the best antenna for signal quality (receive/send) is out there.Is the most expensive the best? I hear you and the other company booming well off shore.What kind of VHF sets / antennas do you guys use

Whats this Sea Smart set up all about?
 

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Sea Smart...just the new digital version of Ship To Shore because cels are so weak now. Expecting canyon coverage...but not guaranteed.

Here's a link read up...cool that the other radio listener's can only hear the land side...not the boat side...

http://www.seasmartvhf.com/

The best antenna's....well that's a debateable topic but the Galaxy by Shakespeare is good enough...the solid element in them holds up better than the cheaper Shakespeare models...although there are some commercial Shakespeares that have the solid element too I think.

The big difference is getting the 2 piece 17 foot to 22 foot long 9db gain antennas. The higher the gain the more powerful...but somewhat more sensitive to boat motion. So having an 8 foot 6 db AND a 17-22 foot 9 db antenna is the ticket.
 
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