Nautilus Lifeline Diver Radios

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The original Lifeline Radio with the two way VHF radio has been discontinued by Lifeline and superseded with a new product Marine Rescue GPS.  This new unit does not have the VHF radio communication functions, but still works as an emergency locator.  Size, costs and feature set is smaller, but still a very valuable piece of dive equipment to carry.

Presented here is the information on the original Lifeline units.  Go buy a used Lifeline or a new Lifeline Marine Rescue GPS if you want to be rescued when adrift.

The Nautilus Lifeline Diver Radio is the best safety equipment advance of the past decade for divers.  The open Ocean is a big space.  If you become separated from the dive boat and the surface conditions are anything but flat calm you are very difficult to locate, but the Nautilus Diver Radio changes all of this.  

Carried with the diver throughout the dive this very compact unit is depth rated to 425fsw, at the surface with the communication lid opened it is "splashproof" like a regular marine VHF.  It has a normal range of about 5 miles, so if you can see a boat, you should be able to talk to it.  The digital emergency signal can transmit much, much farther.


Nautilus Lifeline Radio ButtonsOperation of the Lifeline is very simple and easy using just three buttons on the radio.  The first button is GREEN and it allows the diver to talk with the boat on a selectable "chat" channel for routine communication.  The second button is ORANGE and this button is preset to talk on VHF channel 16, which is the marine hailing and distress channel that most all boats monitor.

The third button is the RED button under the movable shield.  This button activates the emergency call message and sends out a DSC distress message.  This is a digital broadcast that includes your GPS location and information about the identity of the radio using the encoded MMSI data.  Because this is a digital broadcast the range of the radio greatly increases over a voice call.

ANY modern Marine VHF radio within range will receive this digital emergency call and activate an alarm to alert the receiving radio operators of the distress call.  The USCG monitors the frequency of these DSC calls 24/7 using their Rescue 21 system.  On our boat the location of the emergency call shows up on our GPS network displays allowing us to pilot the boat right to the spot.  The RED button only functions if you have followed through on the radio registration and obtained a unique MMSI number for your unit, all done from your PC over the internet for free - no cost.

The Nautilus Lifeline is extremely simple to set up and use:  You fully charge the unit (using USB) prior to first use and check the charge status prior to diving.  Using a simple program, downloaded for free from the Nautilus Lifeline site, you register your unit and can also update the firmware and software automatically as needed.  You can select the VHF radio channels you want in your Lifeline for the region you are going to be diving.  All this is done using a simple USB connection. 

The pre-dive check is fast and easy.  You push the ORANGE button three times very quickly and the Nautilus does a system check and gives you a "Good to GO" right on the screen.  You then inspect the O Ring seal and close up the unit and you are dive ready to 425fsw! 


Open Ocean diving is risky enough.  Being separated from the boat rarely every occurs in a calm sea state where you are easily seen.  The Nautilus Lifeline Diver Radio could very easily save your life.  We have experienced just how well the Lifeline works several times while conducting dives from our boat.  To quote one of our divers "It was just like calling for a cab and the boat pulled right up"!

The MSRP for the no longer available Lifeline Radio VHF radio unit was $299 and the carrying pouch is $40. 

The new Marine Rescue GPS, emergency broadcast only unit is less cost then the original units and works extremely well, you just cant talk on the radio with it. 

No excuses, get one for open ocean diving.


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Dave and Ann Sommers unless otherwise noted and my not be used without permission.

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