We Test This Waterproof, Floating, Handheld Radio

We believe a handheld VHF radio is an essential marine accessory. It provides valuable backup to the boat’s main radio, offers convenience if some of the crew wander up the dock at the marina or take off in the dinghy, and if we should tragedy strike and we end up in the water, a handheld VHF becomes a lifeline. The ICOM M93D handheld marine VHF radio has accompanied us aboard many boats in the course of testing boats and creating feature content for Boating, including taking a Yamaha jet boat to the Bahamas. This, ” time in hand,” provided a great opportunity to find out about this floating, waterproof, VHF radio.

The ICOM M93D marine VHF radio floats and is waterproof and if dropped in the water a emits a strobe light. ICOM

We like that the M93D is waterproof–we consider that an essential in a handheld VHF. We went swimming with the radio as a “proof,” though the radio is rated IPX-7 waterproof.



We also like a radio with a long battery life and found that we could leave the ICOM M93 D powered-up for most of a day, using it mostly for monitoring traffic and only occasionally using it to transmit. When we used it during photo shoots to communicate between the helicopter and the subject boat, it lasted well into the third hour of frequent conversation and then remained powered up to monitor other traffic or get the weather report for some tiome more. ICOM rates the M93D’s battery life as 9 hours for ” typical ” use. Our use bears that out. A prominent batter indicator displays on the screen.

Also notable is the fact that its Active Noise Cancelling feature really works well. The cockpit of a helicopter is a noisy place, yet communication between our photographer in the chopper in the air and the boat crew underway on the water proved excellent with the ICOM M93 D. Along with Active Noise Cancellling, ICOM also gave the M93D a feature called, ” Aqua Quake.” This vibrates the speaker if it gets wet and shakes off water like a dog shaking off after a swim. ( A wet speaker can seriously impede a radio’s ability to be heard.)

We found the screen viewable in bright sun and the controls were easy to use, being on the large side. Here are some pictures of typical screens.

ICOM M93D VHF Radio Screens
ICOM M93D VHF radio screen shots ICOM

For safety and navigation, an integrated GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver provides your location, bearing and speed with fast-setup time and pinpoint accuracy by using information from GPS, GLONASS, QZSS and SBAS (WAAS/EGNOS/MSAS). Using GNSS memory data, the M93D can fix positioning within 8–12 seconds after the radio is powered ON. Acquired position information can be used for DSC calls and navigation to waypoint.

The ICOM M93D is a DSC-equipped radio, providing one-touch distress calling. Just push the button.



Here are some more specs for the ICOM M93D:

Built-in Class D DSC. A red rear panel button allows for distress calls Navigation function from current position to the specified waypoint 50 waypoint memories with alphanumeric name for navigation Weather channel receive with alert function Dual/Tri-watch function for monitoring CH16 and/or call channel Battery indicator shows remaining battery power in four levels Favorite channel function for quick access to often used functions AquaQuake™ draining function clears water away from the speaker grill Float’n Flash allows the user to see the radio when dropped in the water Active Noise Canceling digitally removes background noise from both transmit and receive audio.

PRICE: $309.95,