Waterproof and Floating Radios for Marine

I thought I’d tell a story. Loads of marine radios I sell are advertised as waterproof and they float. Some even have a red LED that flashes when the radio gets immersed in water so you can find it in the dark.

One radio is sold by many people in the UK - Recent RS-25, which is also the Vitai VT-20 and branded by a big UK dealer with their own brand name. The packaging on all of them states they are waterproof and float. I’ve sold hundreds.

I sold one this week and the customer thought he’d test it. It is indeed waterproof, but sadly he reported it floats as well as a brick does!

I decided to test this and put the radio in a tall measuring jug, turned on and I added water. The water covered the radio and it didn’t float! I told the factory and they didn’t know either. I think the batteries were changed to ni-mh at some point and they are heavier - heavier enough to not give it enough bouyancy! The next model up - subjected to the same test, rises when you add water, and floats - and the red LED flashes. All the sales blurb on the net for the small one says it floats, and clearly, nobody checked it!

Wow. They never checked it OR they never thought you would.

They asked me for a video of it, so I tried it and it failed, but I tried the other, and it has buoyancy. I’ve gone back over some images of the old ones and the antenna has also changed. Now, it has the same antenna as another - slightly longer and I suspect also heavier and it never occurred to anyone to test it still floated. The model is on sale all over the place - at least 4 different ‘brands’ all the same price and all with identical packaging with the big word FLOATS on each one. Frankly, I didn’t believe the customer - but I’m very glad I checked. I have modified my adverts and the blurb, but it’s a bit unbelievable!