So, just a few weeks ago, we had an issue with communications while boating and a storm was headed right towards us. We were out on Winnebago about 4.5 miles out from Oshkosh when the storm hit us. Winds blew up, rain came down (couldn't see 10 feet past the front of the bow), and the waves were 3-4 footers... We were out with two other boats that were well ahead of us as we were going idle speed by this time. I couldn't see or tell you how far ahead though.
Problem was, once the rain started, none of us could see where each of us were and all I had was the GPS to keep me on course. So, the others in the group began radioing back to me to determine where we were, but my radio got enough water on/in it that I couldn't transmit back to them. I could hear them, but they couldn't hear me. Our cell phones were down below because it was dry there and water and cell phones don't mix. We tried calling them, but either the storm was interfering with us or we were both trying to call at the same time, we couldn't seem to connect. Unfortunately I didn't have a backup radio either. So, we were, in a sense, alone and no one was sure of where we were. We were able to finally text back and forth enough to tell them we were OK, just taking things slow and that the radio wasn't working.
Lesson learned, I have since picked up a secondary backup handheld radio that is water proof and even floats. I don't want to ever go through that again without being able to let people know where we are. I also was doing some reading and found some really good information about marine radios, their use, and how people should be using them and thought I would share. It explains why a lot of boats have two marine radios on board. One to monitor channel 16 and one to communicate with other boats you may be travelling with. So, here is a few links for you to check out and hope it helps you be ready when the unexpected occurs.
From the Navigation Center for the US Coast Guard:
From BoatSafe.com (repeats a lot of the same info, but adds some more to it):