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RYA. VHF/GMDSS Short Range Radio

Course Overview

This radio operator qualification authorises the holder to operate a VHF/GMDSS radio fitted with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) on board any British vessel which is fitted with radio equipment. It is important to note that any person operating a VHF radio without the correct certification is liable for prosecution and can have the equipment confiscated.

No prior knowledge is required, but 3 hours self-study prior to course commencement is required (and essential) and guidance for this will be given when booking.

At the end of the RYA SRC/VHF Radio course students are prepared to take an exam by an independent examiner. The exam is not difficult and has a high pass rate. Please note the practical exam scenario on day two does take some time and your instructor will advise you of timings.

This course is a prerequisite for candidates taking either their RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal or RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence examinations.

Entry Requirements

No previous radio experience required, but some home study is strongly recommended before attending the course.

Course Content

  • Background information on the GMDSS system and its equipment and licensing requirements
  • Radio rules and regulations
  • Operation of marine VHF equipment including DSC functions
  • The phonetic alphabet
  • Basic radio language and protocols including pro words such as over, say again, out etc.
  • Correct use of the various channels
  • How to make calls to other stations
  • How to send a Distress Alert and Distress Message (Mayday)
  • How to send an urgency alert and a safety call


2-day course.

Day 1 – Course includes use of marine radio including GMDSS, routine, distress, urgency & safety procedures.  Practical exercises using simulator equipment and vhf radios.

Day 2 – Further practical exercises using vhf radios, before a final practical assessment is undertaken.

Examination Type

Examination is by a combination of a multiple choice/short written answer question paper, and a separate practical assessment.

Upon successful completion of the course, the company will apply on your behalf directly to the RYA for the licence, which will arrive with you by post.   You will be issued with the “United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Certificate of Competence and Authority to Operate”.

Cost £220 (including RYA VHF Handbook and exam/licence fee of £70.00)