BoatUS: Do regular radio checks, but do them on a recreational communications channel, not on 16, 9, 22 or any other restricted channel. Something the authorities find quite aggravating is when a recreational boater calls on an emergency channel requesting a "radio check." Hailing "TowBoatUS" on 68 is an easy way to conduct a check. What channels should you use for regular conversations? Channels 68, 69, 71, 72, and 78A are considered non-commercial channels, and in most areas, 68 and 72 are commonly used by the recreational-boating community. But remember that the VHF is officially for "operational" purposes. This can be as informal as passing on a weather report, but conversations about what the dog chewed up yesterday are inappropriate. Some channels, such as 70, have restricted use, and you can't use them for voice communications.