Best Marine Radios Cobra Electronics Review 2021

For those of us who occassionally venture offshore, whether in a boat or kayak, we need to be prepared in case disaster strikes and we find ourselves in need of help. Marine radios can be a literal lifesaver in these situations. We’ve taken a look at TowBoatUS before, for when you find yourself stranded and need a tow back to the dock, but you still need to be able to contact them. Same with the Coast Guard, you need a means of communication.

If you have cell service, you can call for help, but cell service can become spotty to nonexsistent offshore. So then what? Enter the marine radios, they have been designed specifically for this purpose, they give you the ability to communicate with towing services like TowBoatUS, or the Coast Guard when you need life saving assistance, or even contact other vessels in the area. There are many options, incuding hand held versions perfect for kayakers who venture offshore in their plastic boats. 😉 But, what exactly is a marine radio? And, what are the best options for you and your type of fishing and boating?

Coast Guard talking on a marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

QUICK SHOT:

Cobra marine radios are some of the most advanced and well built available. They have a variety of models to choose from so you are bound to find one that fits your needs. You may want to consider the models that now come with GPS built in so you’ll always know exactly where you are. GPS also lets you send signals with your exact location. Also, a marine radio that is Digital Selective Calling (DSC) capable gives you the ability to make calls with your marine Radio. All-in all, Cobra Marine radios are an excellent choice and get an overall rating of 92 out of 100 – HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

In a Hurry? Cobra Marine Radios – Best Recommendations:

Image Model Feature Purchase
MR HH150 FLT Inexpensive & Floats CURRENT PRICE
MR HH600 GPS & BLUETOOTH CURRENT PRICE
MR F57 BEST VALUE CURRENT PRICE
MR F77 MOST ADVANCED CURRENT PRICE

What Are Marine Radios?


Marine VHF radio is a worldwide system of two way radio transceivers on ships and watercraft used for bidirectional voice communication from ship-to-ship, ship-to-shore (for example with harbormasters), and in certain circumstances ship-to-aircraft. It uses FM channels in the very high frequency (VHF) radio band in the frequency range between 156 and 174 MHz, inclusive, designated by the International Telecommunication Union as the VHF maritime mobile band. In some countries additional channels are used, such as the L and F channels for leisure and fishing vessels in the Nordic countries (at 155.5–155.825 MHz). Transmitter power is limited to 25 watts, giving them a range of about 100 kilometres (62 mi; 54 nmi).

Cobra Marine Radio - Cobra marine radios review

Marine VHF radio equipment is installed on all large ships and most seagoing small craft. It is also used, with slightly different regulation, on rivers and lakes. It is used for a wide variety of purposes, including marine navigation and traffic control, summoning rescue services and communicating with harbours, locks, bridges and marinas. An essential tool when you’re on the water, marine radios can let you send distress signals, communicate with land, call for help, tune into severe weather updates, or make announcements over a PA system. 

They’re the ultimate lifesaving marine tool, and essential to your safety. A VHF marine radio is quicker and more reliable than a cell phone on the water, and because they are the primary means of communication when on a boat, marine radios should be your first choice in emergency situations. Recreational boaters do not need a license to operate  marine radiosLarger vessels and those that are for hire,  may need both a radio license and an operator’s license. This depends on the type of radio you have and how you use it. 


Cobra Electronics Marine Radios


Cobra electronics logo - Cobra marine radios review

COBRA ELECTRONICS

  • Address: 6500 West Cortland Street
  • Chicago, IL 60707 United States
  • Phone: 1-773-889-3087 – 800-964-3138
  • Website: www.cobra.com
  • Sales: 800-964-3138  Option 1
    Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm EST
  • Customer Service: 800-543-1608  Option 3
    Monday – Thursday 9am – 4:00pm EST

Founded in 1953, Cobra is a world leader in manufacturing mobile communication devices and navigation equipment. The company got its start with a CB radio and has maintained prominence through continual innovation and research. Cobra’s 50 years of continuous innovation empowers drivers of all kinds, from professional truck driver to commuter to boater, to drive smarter and safer. Learn how we’re building advanced technology into all of our detection, protection, communication, and power solutions.

Cobra’s marine radios for boats are essential out on the water. Built-in GPS sends distress signals from your exact location helping the Coast Guard or other ships to reach you quickly. The 24-hour access to emergency alerts and NOAA weather broadcasts keep you informed, prepared, and aware. Whether you choose a handheld or a fixed-mount option, Cobra has marine radios for sale to help you be ready for the unexpected.

Cobra fixed mount marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

Cobra marine radios offer other advanced features. With Rewind-Say-Again, channel scan, instant channel 16/9, illuminated LCD, easy menu navigation, PA speaker output, and 24-hour access to emergency alerts via the NOAA Weather Radio and Weather Alert, Cobra has a variety of marine radios for sale so that you’ll be able to always have safe communication on the water.

Cobra Marine Radios Advanced Features:

Digital Selective Calling (DSC) – Cobra Marine Radios provide Digital Selective Calling (DSC), instant NOAA weather alerts and allow you to communicate easily and effectively whether they are on or offshore withBluetooth™ technology. Digital Selective Calling (DSC) is a radio technology allowing enhanced distress radio messages to be sent digitally. In addition, a DSC equipped vessel with an MMSI number can make a “private” hailing call to another DSC-equipped vessel. Only the vessel being called will receive the initial contact, but the subsequent conversations will take place on an open, “working” channel, which can be monitored by any VHF equipped vessel within your broadcast range.

Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) is a unique 9 digit number that is assigned to a (Digital Selective Calling) DSC radio or an AIS unit. Similar to a cell phone number, your MMSI number is your unique calling number for DSC radios or an AIS unit. The information provided when obtaining a MMSI number is transferred into the U.S. Coast Guard’s national distress database for use in emergency situations.

Floating, Water Resistant & Submersible –  Easily retrieve your portable Cobra Marine Radio when dropped in the water. BURP feature vibrates water out of the speaker grill for clear communication.  All Cobra Marine Fixed Mount Radios are up to IPX8 standards to work excellently underwater and are waterproof.

Built-in GPS –Built-in GPS ensures accurate location when calling for Coast Guard assistance in a time of need. Rewind-Say-Again™ allows you to record and replay the last 20 seconds of a VHF call. Dual All-Terrain Radio™ designed for land and water use. Having a built-in GPS in a emergency, one push of the Distress button, transmits the distress signal containing your MMSI# and location Lat/Lon information to USCG and all other DSC capable receivers within your broadcast range. Should (you) the operator become incapacitated, the radio will continue to send the mayday signal

Cobra handheld marine radio floating - Cobra marine radios review


Cobra Fixed Mount Marine Radios


Fixed mount marine radios are exactly that. They are marine radios that are physically installed in the boat and stay there, as opposed to handheld marine radios that are portable and can be taken with you from boat to boat or home for safe keeping etc. When heading out on the water, a fixed-mount VHF radio is vital for communication and safety. With advanced safety features, easy menu navigation, and 24 hr access to emergency alerts and broadcasts, Cobra’s got you covered. Cobra has several fixed mount marine radios, and you can find a model that best suits you and your boating style. Let’s check them out.

Cobra MRF45D

Cobra MRF 45D marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

The essential marine radio, the MRF45D is a full function DSC-capable VHF radio with everything you need to get out on the water. You’ll feel safe and secure with 24hr. NOAA weather channels, instant channel 16/9, a signal strength meter, and advanced features like Dual Watch. Class-D DSC allows you to send distress signals at the touch of a button and exchange position information with other boats or stations. A good basic marine radio.

Features of the MRF45D:

  • Dual Output Power – Choose between 1 or 25 watt output power for short or long communication.
  • US, Canada, & International Channels – Operate on any of the three established channel maps for these areas. Operate on any of the 3 channel maps
  • Class D DSC – Send distress signals at the touch of a button
  • NOAA Weather – Get instant, 24 hour access to national All-Hazards and weather information on 10 NOAA weather channels. Audible and visual alarms for incoming weather threats
  • FCC Compliant – Compliant with the latest FCC Class-D VHF radio specifications
  • Includes: 5′ Fiberglass VHF antenna for Fixed Mount marine radios, 17 Foot RG 58 Coax with molded PL 259 & 3dB Gain. Dual Swivel, corrosion resistant nylon base. Coax cable and connectors compatible with Cobra Marine and all other VHF radios. Extended frequency range up to 162 MHz for VHF and NOAA Weather.
Cobra MRF45 marine radio customer reviews

Next up is the MRF57 a 25 Watt Class-D Fixed Mount VHF Radio. A powerful VHF radio perfect for short or long range communication. It includes 24hr. access to NOAA weather alerts, one-touch access to channel 16/9 and advanced features over the MRF45D like Rewind-Say-Again® so you’ll never miss a VHF call. Check out the features of the MRF57B below:

Cobra MRF57B

Cobra MRF 57 marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

Features of the Cobra MRF57B:

  • Rewind-Say-Again® – Automatically records the last 20 seconds of VHF calls so you can always play back what you missed.
    PA Output – 
    Public Address output to communicate on an external speaker. Communicate with boaters around you with a PA function to external speaker.
  • NOAA Weather – 24 hour access to all NOAA weather channels. Get instant, 24 hour access to national All-Hazards and weather information with all NOAA weather channels.
  • Radio Check – Automatically checks battery voltage, RF power output, and antenna output
  • Submersible – Designed to IPX8 (JIS8) standards to be fully submersible
  • FCC Compliant – Compliant with the latest FCC Class-D VHF radio specifications
  • Includes: 5′ Fiberglass VHF antenna for Fixed Mount marine radios, 17 Foot RG 58 Coax with molded PL 259 & 3dB Gain. Dual Swivel, corrosion resistant nylon base. Coax cable and connectors compatible with Cobra Marine and all other VHF radios. Extended frequency range up to 162 MHz for VHF and NOAA Weather.

Cobra MRF77W GPS

Cobra MRF 77 marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

The Cobra MRF77 is their most advanced marine radio. The MRF77 is a unique VHF radio with an integrated GPS receiver and exact location for a true life saving device. Instant emergency channel 16/9, Rewind-Say-Again® feature, and access to all NOAA weather channels make this a complete solution.Take a look at the advanced features of the MRF77 from Cobra Electronics.

Features of the Cobra MRF77:

  • Built-In GPS Receiver – Connect to power and your radio will instantly know your location
  • NOAA Weather – 24 hour access to all NOAA weather channels
  • Rewind-Say-Again® – Record and replay the last 20 seconds of VHF calls
  • Submersible – Designed to IPX8 (JIS8) standards to be fully submersible 
  • PA Output – Public Address output to communicate on an external speaker
  • FCC Compliant – Compliant with the latest FCC Class-D VHF radio specifications

What’s Included: – With your Cobra MRF77 GPS you’ll receive a transceiver, surface mount kit, microphone, microphone mount, and GPS interface cable.

  • Cobra MRF77 GPS
  • Transceiver
  • Surface mount kit
  • Microphone
  • Microphone mount
  • GPS interface cable
  • One Year membership to TowBoatUS
hardware and accessories included with the Cobra MRF 77 marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

Includes: 5′ Fiberglass VHF antenna for Fixed Mount marine radios, 17 Foot RG 58 Coax with molded PL 259 & 3dB Gain. Dual Swivel, corrosion resistant nylon base. Coax cable and connectors compatible with Cobra Marine and all other VHF radios. Extended frequency range up to 162 MHz for VHF and NOAA Weather.

Cobra MR F77 marine radio customer reviews - Cobra marine radios review

Cobra Handheld Marine Radios


OK, but what if you don’t have a boat, or use a kayak? Maybe you paddle offshore to some of the nearshore oil rigs or other structure. Or, perhaps you want the flexibilty to take your radio with you even when fishing on someone else’s boat. That’s where the handheld marine radios come in. A handheld radio is ideal for use on small boats that lack the dash space to install a radio and boats without an electrical system. The handheld is also ideal for communication from a tender to the mother ship.

First, what is a handheld VHF? A handheld VHF is as it sounds, a VHF radio that fits in your hand. These are not toys or walkie-talkies, these are powerful VHF radios. For example, a 5 watt handheld will communicate approximately 7 miles to another handheld, or approximately 20 miles to a well-equipped shore station, while a 2 watt handheld will communicate approximately 5 miles to another handheld, or approximately 15 miles to a well-equipped shore station. 

Man talking on his handheld marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

These radios are a lightweight, compact solution that can go anywhere you do, even outside your vessel. The trade-off for having a portable solution is that it will have a decreased range when compared to its fixed mount counterparts, additionally it will have a limited battery life that will require charging before heading out. There are a range options available with different features including float and flash, DSC and GPS. As you can see below, Cobra has an impressive lineup of handheld marine radios loaded with advanced featues.

Cobra MR HH150 FLT

Cobra MR HH150 handheld marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

The MR HH150 FLT is a convenient and quality 3 Watt handheld floating VHF radio. A great entry level, handheld floating radio and is anything but basic. The large display, signal strength indicators, and maximum range give you unmatched reliability and peace of mind.

Features of the Cobra MR HH150 FLT:

  • Floating Design – Orange core, floating design means you’ll never lose your radio
  • NOAA Weather – Instant access to 10 NOAA weather channels
  • Selectable Power – Low, medium, and high power for short or long communication
  • Rechargeable – Uses included rechargeable AA batteries or conventional AA batteries
  • US, Canada, International – Operate on any of the 3 channel maps
  • Belt Clip – Easy to reach with spring loaded belt clip
Cobra MR HH150 handheld marine radio customer reviews - Cobra marine radios review

The MR HH350 FLT is the best value in Cobra’s handheld VHF radio line up! Backed by 50 years of Cobra quality, this floating radio has an orange core for higher visibility and is easy to retrieve if dropped overboard. It features 6 Watts of power for longer range communications and full access to all NOAA weather channels and alarm tones for weather emergencies. It also includes all of the core features like Noise canceling microphone, JIS7/IPX7 rated Submersible, Tri-Watch, Memory Channels, Memory Scan and BURP.

Features of the MR HH350 FLT: 

  • Noise Cancelling Microphone – Make crystal clear transmissions
  • NOAA Weather – 24 hour access to all NOAA weather channels
  • Selectable Power – Choose between 1, 3, and 6 watts for short or long communication
  • Backlit Display – Easy-to-read display in all conditions at any time of day
  • US, Canada, International – Operate on any of the 3 channel maps
  • Floating Design – Orange core, floating design means you’ll never lose your radio

Cobra MR HH350W FLT – 6 Watt Floating VHF Radio

Cobra MR HH350 handheld marine radio - Cobra marine radios review
Cobra MR HH350 handheld marine radio customer reviews - Cobra marine radios review

Cobra MR HH450 CAMO

Cobra MR HH450 handheld marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

The MRHH450 is designed as an All-Terrain Radio™ for year round, multi-purpose use. This compact floating unit features Rewind-Say-Again®, GMRS channel dual-band functionality, and Cobra’s core VHF radio features like noise canceling microphone and NOAA weather. And, comes in the Realtree® Max 4 Pattern perfect for those who use their boat for hunting.

Features of the Cobra MR HH450 CAMO:

  • All-Terrain Radio™ – Use anywhere, any time, on any vehicle
  • Weather Alerts w/ S.A.M.E – Get alerted to weather when a threat is nearby
  • Rewind-Say-Again® – Replay the last 20 second of missed VHF calls
  • Selectable Power – Low, medium, and high power for various range of communication.
  • Floating Design – Orange core, floating design means you’ll never lose your radio
  • Rugged Case – Built for extreme durability
Cobra MR HH450 handheld camo marine radio customer reviews - Cobra marine radios review

Cobra’s most advanced handheld marine radios, the MR HH600 is a floating handheld VHF radio with built-in GPS. You now have the ability to view exact coordinates, transmit  your location, and use its Bluetooth® capabilities to keep your phone safe and dry. The added flashlight with emergency strobe ensures you can always be found. The ultimate in safe communication on the water.

Features of the Cobra MR HH600:

  • Built-In GPS Receiver – View exact coordinates on screen and send location with DSC calls
  • Rewind-Say-Again® – Replay the last 20 second of missed VHF calls
  • Bluetooth® – Make and receive phone calls while keeping you phone safe and dry
  • Selectable Power – Choose between 1, 3, and 6 watts for short or long communication
  • Floating Design – Orange core, floating design means you’ll never lose your radio
  • Illuminated Display – Clear, illuminated display makes reading radio information easy

Cobra MR HH600W

Cobra MR HH600 handheld marine radio - Cobra marine radios review
hardware and accesories included with the Cobra MR HH600 marine radio - Cobra marine radios review

What’s Included with MR HH600:

With your Cobra MRHH600W you’ll receive a drop-in battery charger, AC charger, DC, charger, LiON battery pack, antenna, belt clip, wrist strap, alkaline battery tray, and NMEA input cable.

  • Cobra MRHH600W
  • Drop-in battery charger
  • AC charger
  • DC, charger
  • LiON battery pack
  • antenna
  • belt clip
  • wrist strap
  • alkaline battery tray
  • NMEA input cable
  • One year membership to TowBoatUS
Cobra MR HH600 handheld marine radio customer reviews - Cobra marine radios review

Fixed Mount vs Handheld Marine Radios Pros and Cons


So, whats the best choice when selecting marine radios, fixed mount or handheld?  Of course that will depend on you and the type of boat etc. A fixed mount VHF works the same as a handheld VHF but is permanently mounted in your vessel. It is separated into two separate parts, the radio itself and an antenna to broadcast the signal. It is a larger radio and requires an external power source as well as space in your vessel to be installed. The fixed mount marine radios will have a greater range than the handheld.

Handheld marine radios offer the convenience of portability, but it comes with a reduced communications range and the need for batteries, either rechargable or throw away. But, if you don’t have room on your boat to install a fixed Mount marine radio, or if you are using a kayak, the handheld is a great option for you. Still more than powerful enough and loaded with plenty of advanced features. So it will really depend on what you will be using it for and what type of vessel. Cobra has a great selection of both types.

Young Lady with a big sow red snapper - Cobra marine radios review

Cobra Marine Radios  Comparison


The tables below will give you a side by side comparison of the Cobra Marine radios. Both the fixed mount and the handheld models. As always, I encourage you to check them out for yourself if you are in the market for a marine radio. It is your money after all and only you know what will work best for you and your situation.

Cobra Fixed Mount Marine Radios

Image Model Pros Cons Price
Cobra MR F45 Great Value & Features No GPS or PA $
Cobra MR F57 BEST VALUE No GPS $$
Cobra MR77 GPS + Tracking Price $$$

Cobra Handheld Marine Radios

Image Model Pros Cons Price
Cobra HH150 FLT Great Price & Value Shorter Range $
Cobra HH350 Noise Cancelling MIC No Bluetooth or GPS $$
Cobra HH450 Camo Rewind Feature, CAMO No GPS $$$
Cobra HH600 GPS & Bluetooth Price $$$$

Warranty Info and Terms:

What this warranty covers: COBRA warrants your product against all defects in materials and workmanship. For how long: (New Products) One (1) year from the date of the original purchase. **Some products have longer warranty lengths.  Please check your owner’s manual for the warranty term.

What we will do: COBRA, at our discretion, will either repair or replace your product free of charge. Certain products that are “End Of Life” or low stock items cannot be guaranteed of replacement availability. What we will not do: COBRA will not pay shipping charges that you incur for sending your product to us.

What you must do to maintain this warranty: Show original proof of purchase from COBRA or a Cobra Authorized dealer.
Warranty Exclusions: Warranty does not apply to your product under any of the following conditions:

  • 1. The serial number has been removed or modified.
  • 2. Your product has been subjected to misuse or damage (including water damage, physical abuse, and/or improper installation).
  • 3. Your product has been modified in any way.
  • 4. Your receipt or proof-of-purchase is from a non-authorized dealer or internet auction site including E-bay, U-bid, or other non-authorized resellers. 

Please Note: only purchases made from our official Cobra Electronics store, designated by the Red Cobra logo, are covered under this warranty To obtain service: Please contact us to obtain a Return Authorization number. 

  • Price Match Promise – Find a better advertised price online for any current Cobra product and we’ll match it within 30 days of purchase.
  • Free Shipping – Enjoy free shipping on orders $80 and up. Plus, free two day shipping on all Elite Series models.
  • Simple Returns – Not satisfied? No questions asked. All products purchased factory direct come with a 30-day money back guarantee.
Lady with a nice slot redfish - Cobra Marine Radios review
Complimentary 1-year BoatU.S. membership with any Cobra Marine purchase - Cobra marine radios review

FREE one year membership to TowBoatUS – when you purchase any Cobra Marine Radiosyou will get a free one-year membership to TowBoatUS. Cobra is the official VHF radio of TowBoatUS the #1 choice of boaters nationwide for boat towing and expert on-water assistance. Membership offers discounts on fuel, boating supplies, restaurants, and gives you an experienced captain standing by 24/7 in case you need help while out on the water. Your TowBoatUS membership will help prevent out of pocket expenses and save you valuable time in the event that you do need a tow. 


Grab a Cobra Marine Radio and Go Fishing


Nice young lady with a pair of Mahi Mahi - Cobra Marine Radios review

If you are going to be taking a boat offshore, or in any large body of water, you need a good marine radio. Even if you are just taking your kayak and paddling out to do some near shore fishing, take a handheld marine radio. And, never ever go boating or kayaking alone. There are no fish in the ocean worth losing your life over. Take a buddy and take a quality marine radio, so in the worst case scenario, you can call for help. Check out the marine radios from Cobra Electronics, they know radios.

As always, stay safe, enjoy the journey and please try to leave it cleaner than you found it. If you have any comments, questions, ideas or suggestions please leave them in the comment section below and I’ll get back to you asap. You can follow us on Facebook: Rex The Beach Angler, Instagram: thebeachangler7, Twitter: @AnglerBeach, and YouTube: Man Art Creations.


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