I have a VHF radio for use in coastal Maine, and it provides an important safety device in case of an emergency. But I’ve been finding it useful for one recurring non-emergency use as well. I often pass under a small lift-bridge in South Bristol. The passage through “The Gut” is only about 25 feet wide with high concrete walls, and a blind dogleg turn on the approach from each side. So, you can’t see if traffic is coming the other way until you’re under the bridge.
If the bridge is up, you know it’s up for somebody bigger than a kayak (the operator opens on-demand) and you need to stay clear. But when it’s down, I call the bridge operator and ask them to check for traffic coming the other way. One day, the operator came outside and said hello, and also said she wished all kayaks had radios and would check like I did. Another time, the operator gave me the all-clear, but then called at the last minute telling me to stop because someone in a Boston Whaler had just decided to come under and was moving fast. She may have saved me from being smacked that day.
Here’s an aerial view: