What type of phone to carry in the ocean?

Ive luckily never had to use my cell phone in an emergency in the ocean....YET ..... while paddling. Ive always carried my smart phone ( touch type smart phone) in a waterproof credit card/document hard case, tied to my shorts, string tie. I was curious if I ever had to make that call, would the phone still be able to dial while in a ziploc freezer bag type cover? Im thinking about getting a prepaid, button type phone, kept charged just for the water. Even if I forgot to pay that monthly fee, 911 would always work.

Anyone ran into this type of situation ever?

Submitted by justthetip on Wed, 12/14/2011 - 8:32pm

If I'm doing an ocean run in the 6man or the OC1, I try to bring my handheld vhf radio. It's a waterproof floating model from icom. If my oc1 were to break a mile off shore or someone has some issues in the 6man, the coastguard or local lifeguards will reach you faster than you can paddle or swim in. My old man would always say, "Get the right tool for the job."

#1 Wed, 12/14/2011 - 8:47pm

Any waterproof VHF radios that have mobile/car chargers? Any particular model you could suggest?

#2 Wed, 12/14/2011 - 9:00pm

H2O Audio makes a bunch of different style waterproof cases that will fit anybody's smartphone. I personally use this:

That way, if I ever encounter trouble, I can easily use my phone while it's still in the case. Great company and located in San Diego, CA!

#3 Thu, 12/15/2011 - 3:34am


The unit sits in a small charger base that can be connected to a car charger port (cigarette lighter). It has an amazingly strong lithium battery. Because I didn't have to have it on all the time, my battery lasted an entire season. Im partial to the handheld as I feel its more durable for the purpose you using it for. Whether you go with a waterproof case or a handheld, I think it's a great idea to have something handy for the "just in case" scenarios that seem to always bite us in the a$$.


#4 Thu, 12/15/2011 - 7:14am

The VHF handheld is the better choice.

You get someone ashore on the phone they still have to figure out who contact to get you the right kind of help. Calling your mom, or a reference librarian, or the desk sergeant at the station where you live is better than nothing, but it wastes time while you're treading water.

With a VHF you eliminate the middle man. If you hit Channel 16 on a VHF you broadcast to everyone monitoring the emergency frequency. Those are folks with boats and with a better sense of your situation..

#5 Thu, 12/15/2011 - 12:53pm

I carry a Casio commando. It's a Droid smartphone that is waterproof for 30 minutes at 10 feet. Comes with a tide feature that's preloaded too.

#6 Thu, 12/15/2011 - 11:51pm

I'll carry a SPOT locator in a Pelican 1010 Micro Case if I'm going anywhere interesting. Doesn't need cell service and the case floats with the SPOT inside. Also I believe the SPOT locator is waterproof to a certain degree (maybe water resistant?). Only bummer is the yearly service charge but I feel it's worth it as I use it for much more than just paddling (hiking, diving in remote areas, hunting, etc).

#7 Fri, 12/16/2011 - 4:52pm

On Oahu, cell phones are the best for off shore and shore to shore communication. You can buy small, thin and light ones from Amazon for around $80, which fit snugly in your compression shorts or in the front/side pockets of your swim shorts. In fact, last Sunday, I was carrying two of them in both of my front pockets, when a Fuze lady, observing us DIW and resting off Black Pt. offered us the use of her cell phone if we needed help. I don't know what brand or model cell phone she had, but thank you Fuze lady, for we really appreciate your thoughtful offer. So go check out the videos on YouTube showing how well all these water proof cell phones perform.

#8 Thu, 12/22/2011 - 12:34am

I bought an aquapac case for my cell about 5 years ago. I try to take my phone with me if its flat or rough. one time in the flat during a stroke i touched a jellyfish. In time my arm got really sore and had to call my shuttle driver to pick me up before the finish. Came in handy. also was out in the rough and some divers anchor broke and they lost their boat. i was able to help them out. Only once called emergency, with the bad weather service was not the best but i got the message through. I think a VHF would be perfect also. My aquapac has been in the water alot and is still great after so much usage. I take it on rivers when kayaking and rafting also. It was a great buy. got it from go bananas. well worth it. I think if weather is really bad i would take cell and vhf.

#9 Thu, 12/22/2011 - 9:03am

lifeproof for iphone owners is the best by far. $80 at best buy and is fully submersible underwater and everything.

#10 Thu, 12/22/2011 - 3:06pm

What type of phone to carry in the ocean

an over sea's phone

#11 Thu, 12/22/2011 - 6:40pm

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