Communication at sea is both a safety consideration as well as a practical one. Being able to communicate in the event of an emergency, getting weather updates and staying in touch with loved ones and business are all high up on the priority list for today's cruisers.
Having several backup systems of communication is highly recommended when venturing offshore. When you plan a coastal or offshore race or cruise, or perhaps a trip to the Bahamas or the Caribbean, you will be out of range of VHF radio, the standard local ship-to-ship or ship-to-shore communication system, whenever you are more than 20 miles offshore.
Cell phones offer even less range, as well as dropped calls, although cruisers can boost their range with antennas. SeaPeople Depot offers several options for communication at sea from some of the better-known manufacturers like Garmin, Furuno, Icom, Digital Yacht among others.