VHF Radio

Short Range Certificate

Jamie uses the VHF radio

The VHF marine radio is an important piece of safety equipment to have onboard and knowing how to use it correctly is crucial for everyone's safety. The Short Range Certificate is the minimum qualification required by law to control a VHF radio whether fixed or handheld. Your operator's licence is then valid for life. 

Your course pack includes the RYA's "VHF Radio Handbook", which we will post to you.

Please note, there is a separate exam & certification fee of £70 payable to the RYA. The final qualifying exam will be held on the same day.

RYA VHF Handbook

If you hold a pre-1999 license you need to update to the new VHF Short Range Certificate. There have been many significant changes since then. Contact us if you have any questions.

The quickest way to get your licence is by doing the online course. We can normally arrange your final assessment as soon as you're ready for it. Be sure to check first, in case we're on holiday that week! 


Whether you do the classroom course or the online course, there are two steps to gaining your VHF radio operator's licence.

Step 1. Study the course content:  Online (or on a 1-day classroom course when available)

Step 2. Complete the final practical assessment, in person, with us in Morecambe.

Pre-course Study
The Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) requires candidates to do 3 hours pre-course study before attending the classroom course.  You'll receive your course pack by post once payment is confirmed and you'll also have access to our free quiz & top tips for the practical exam.

Final Exam
This takes place at the end of the day's tuition. There's a multiple choice question paper and a short practical assessment, which involves making different kinds of DSC calls.

Top tips


TOP TIP - Familiarise yourself with the menu structure of our ICOM Radio 
Like mobile phones, VHF radios differ from one another. So it's well worth a few minutes to memorise the steps through the Icom radio's menu to send the main types of DSC alerts before you arrive for your practical VHF radio assessment! Watch the videos below to find out how.

Send a DSC Distress alert

Send a DSC Routine Announcement

Add an MMSI number to the Phone Book


I need to get the licence soon. What's the quickest way?

The VHF Radio Online course is the quickest way to obtain the license.

Is there an age limit?

Although there is no age limit to do the course, the minimum age for the assessment is 16.

I have an RYA/MCA 'VHF Restricted Operator's Certificate'.  Can I update it to the GMDSS Short Range Certificate?

Yes, you can. It does require a knowledge of the Global Maritime Distress & Safety System and be able to send and receive DSC calls. If you need to refresh your VHF skills, many people find the best thing to do is take the course again.

Can I fast track my SRC certificate?

Yes, the RYA Fast Track service aims to turn around your SRC application in 7 working days (excluding delivery). There is a discount for RYA members. The RYA allow fast track (only) applications to be sent by email, followed by payment by credit or debit card.

 Date  Time  Places Left
None planned at present - online only    

Course joining instructions

Duration: 7 hours plus 3 hours pre-course homework. Student to instructor ratio 12:1