waterproof cell phones?

I’ve never had a cell phone and don’t really want one. However, it seems like a good safety item for paddling solo, which I’ve been doing more and more. I always carry a VHF but am not really sure that the range is always enough. Is there a cell phone that is truly waterproof and can be tethered to a PFD and withstand submersion in salt water like a VHF? Or do you have to use a bag to be sure? What works for you?

A lot of the Casio phones are built that way. They will withstand a lot, but I wouldn’t trust it to sit in water for a long time. The salt environment is tough on everything. You would be best putting it in a sleeve.

Ryan L.

Which Casios are good?
I’ve just read some very bad reviews of the Casio Ravine, which looks good on paper. Like this one:“On Verizon’s own website, 32 people give it 1 star so far and 31 two star… that should tell you something!.. I wish I did my homework…I still can’t believe they put the microphone by the earpiece! Wow!! I have to take phone off my ear and put it in front of my mouth to speak into the microphone or else I can’t be heard, then put it back on my ear to hear. I only use the phone occasionally but I’ve really grown to HATE it.”

And people complain about tiny slippery keys, which doesn’t sound good for a safety item for winter kayaking.

Box it
I keep my phone, wallet, and keys in a watertight box. It worked great when I flipped, had it strapped to the thwart. For phone and keys I like the box because it floats and won’t tear. You do have to take it out to use it though.

not sure
My mother in law has the basic flip phone one. It works well enough. She is a meat grinder on phones and it still works. You can’t really expect the same things you would get from other phones. Her phone is a little hard to hear her on if she holds it a certain way. The sealed ports and tight grills make it a little tough.

I think Motorola also makes a few, not sure what carrier has them.

Ryan L.

Carry both VHF & cell hpone
The VHF is waterproof, the cell phone goes in a Otter case. For coastal paddling I always have a VHF. I think of it as indispensable.

to mention that the vhf broadcasts to all the boats (shipping and pleasure) and the coastguard etc…with one call. even when there isn’t a tower within 5 miles.

Best Wishes


I use this case

It uses an O-ring type opening which tends to work better than some others. Normally I have my phone in the case and then in the day hatch. But I have used this on my PFD to listen to music on some longer solo paddles. I’ve rolled with it on my PFD.

Just an FYI for many rivers that tend to
run in valleys. You will likely have absolutely no coverage due to the hills around you. Someone in our group carry at least one in a dry bag, just in case. But it would mean hiking to the top of a hill, if possible.

I have
the Samsung Rugby II through ATT. It’s held up well through roll practice, etc.

I have been using . . .
The Verizon Boulder, by Casio.

I have had it for three years - using it kayaking in marine and whitewater settings. I keep it tethered to a loop in my PFD. It has been through swims, pulled out for conversations on the water - all routine.

In fact, one day I put in ahead of my companions, splashing mud on my phone just before it began to ring. I opened it, swished off the mud in the water and as I put my phone to my head, I heard startled gasps from the boats behind me. They had not been aware of the waterproof, impact-resistant qualities of the phone.

The color is a reflective metallic orange - probably makes it more visible if it gets dropped into the water - but it stays bungied to the loop in my PFD pocket at all times on the water.

My main gripe about this model is that the volume buttons are positioned on the side, such that tight pockets can turn the volume all the way down, if you don’t hear the beeps.

Overall, though, it seems to be a pretty good phone. I was in Verizon last week and noticed they have new models of water-resistant phones.

SealLine E-Case
I use a SealLine E-Case for my smartphone and it works great. I’ve rolled with it and I take photos through it, though they aren’t the best photos in the world.

Since you really don’t want a cell phone for everyday use have you thought about a SPOT or emergency personal locator beacon like ACR’s ResQLink 406? Both have advantages and disadvantages that you would have to decide which is best for you. Both blow away ANY cell phone for an emergency. In the long term they might prove to be cheaper especially the ResQLink 406 that doesn’t have a service contract.

Boulder was great GZone Rock is good
A GZone Rock Verizon phone and a Pentax Optio camera both were underwater, along with myself for a good hour or more last October. They both came through like just fine. (however my kayak was totalled)

The Boulder is better made than the G Zone. I have not heard good things about the Ravine.

I bought a new G Zone Rock off of eBay recently. It’s a great phone for water activities. My Boulder had come up missing and I needed another phone.

You might not want to leave your phone in direct sunlight on the hottest day of the summer and then jump in a cold pool with it though. My original GZone Rock phone still works but it did steam up and suffer some damage this July.

I have a Casio G’zOne Commando

– Last Updated: Oct-17-11 12:25 PM EST –

Which is a so called "smart phone" running the Android OS. It's not rated for immersion over 3' but that should be enough for kayaking. It comes with case armor and a "Gorilla" glass screen so it can take a good knock. Verison carries them.

I had a Boulder before this phone, it was a great conventional flip open cell phone.

Boulder sounds perfect for my purposes - thanks. Though it’s mainly as an extra back-up to the VHF in case of emergency - for which an EPIRB would be even better- it’s also for not-quite-emergencies, like “Hi, honey, I’m fine but going a little slower than I expected, may not make it back until after dinner after all.”

Nalgene bottle…
it keeps water IN…it keeps water OUT

I use a Nalgene Bottle as a dry box, and it doubles as a knee roll when I need it.

Just clip a keyring Carabiner to the lid and secure with a tether to the boat.

danke rwven
Just switched to verizon. I’m gonna look for that model.


– Last Updated: Oct-18-11 4:49 PM EST –

After 3 years of reliable no leak service, I retired my SAMSUNG Rugby flip phone for the smaller, lighter and thinner SAMSUNG B2100 Extreme Durability Unlocked Quad-band phone. After 2 months of testing it out in the ocean surf paddling my surfski, solo outrigger and paddleboard, I bought another one for my teenager so we can keep in contact with each other on land and at sea. Transferring the AT&T SIM card out of the Rugby into the B2100 was easy and fast. I bought both SamSung B2100 phones from Amazon for around $90, and I just received a flyer from them saying they are now $79. On both of my B2100 phones, I've attached orange colored Kodak PlaySport wrist floats to them, which makes them easy to spot when they fall out of my pocket and I have to turn around in heavy seas to retrieve them. All and all, a great phone that I'm happy with and will never go back to using an awkward flip phone again. Check out YouTube for all the abuse this phone can take. PS: Kodak PlaySport wrist floats were purchased from Amazon for $12 each. Also, the phone fits most pfd pockets or can be tethered to it. Also, the phone is thin enough to wear tucked in tight compression Jammer style paddling shorts. Only carry the phone in pockets that can be fastened or it will slip out. The reason I bought this small phone is so that I don't have to Ziplock it in a plastic bag. If it leaks, I'll just buy another one (like I do so called waterproof cameras), for the price is right.