“I’m not yelling!” And it’s wonderful! Today’s technology allows you to communicate with your crew during anchoring or docking maneuvers using wireless communications. These hands-free intercoms will no doubt improve relations on board between captain and crew (and save a fair few arguments) as they negate the need to bark orders and directions across the foredeck. The intercoms use a simple earpiece and microphone to enable two-way conversations over a range of up to 400 feet without ever needing to raise your voice.
We’ve read the reviews and polled users, and one product raises to the top:
Eartec UL2S UltraLITE
First of all we determined that we’d rather have one ear open to hear what’s going on in the world around us, and that light weight makes this tool easier to wear. Sound quality may be improved with stereo, covered-ear systems, but we’re using this to communicate between helm and deck, not listen to music and take phone calls.
The Eartec UltraLITE is a full duplex wireless headset that provides hands-free, two-way voice communications. At the heart of this systems is a “Master” headset that relays the digital signals generated by up to three “Remote” units. The resulting open line talking pattern allows up to 4 people to talk simultaneously without pushing buttons. The UL2S package comes with two UltraLITE Single Headsets.
We liked the self-contained “all-in-one” design that eliminates wires or belt-worn radios. These units talk only to each other on their own frequency, reducing external interference. Also useful is the mic boom that swivels so that you can wear the headset on your left or right ear.
Users reported limited battery life, and recommended charging the units after each use. We had no problem with that. Or with the price: $385 for the pair on Amazon.
The ability to clearly hear instructions from the skipper at the helm, to relay information back and communicate at a distance is a huge advantage and with an attractive price point, crews preparing to notch up some cruising miles this season could find this kit very useful.