VHF Radio Online Course

Quick way to get your radio licence

The RYA VHF Handbook you receive with your online course booking.

If you intend to use a VHF marine radio, whether fixed or handheld, you need to hold an operator's licence. This online course is the easiest way to get your VHF Radio Operator Certificate of Competence. Just complete the online course, then book a mutually convenient time to do the final practical exam, in person with us, here in Morecambe. Note, if you wish to do the exam at another training centre, you must inform us prior to booking to ensure this can be arranged.

Course fee: £115  (this includes the RYA VHF Handbook which we will post to you)

Please note: There's an additional certificate fee of £70 payable to the RYA before you attend the final practical exam. The minimum age for the assessment is 16.


After you've purchased your VHF radio online course, we'll send you an email with full joining instructions. Please check your spam folder for this email. It will include your USERNAME and PASSWORD. Once logged in, you'll be asked to create a user profile on the RYA Interactive website. After you've done that, you can start your course.

The course is designed to be self-study but get in touch if you need any help. You can work through the various modules as many times as you want and practise making calls using a VHF Radio simulator. This lets you record and playback your radio conversations. 

Pre-exam knowledge check
Do this after you've completed all the modules. The pass mark is 60% and you get 3 attempts. It will give you an idea of whether you're ready for the final assessment.

Pre-exam certificate number
Once you've passed the online 'pre-exam knowledge check' you'll be issued with a certificate and number. You'll need this certificate number to attend the final practical exam and also for the license application form.

Final face-to-face exam 
This is conducted in person with us on a 1:1 basis at a mutually convenient time. Please don't be too nervous, we want you to do well! It usually takes between one & two hours to complete everything. 

There are two parts to the exam; a practical assessment and a written paper. The practical assessment involves various scenarios where you have to use the right kind of DSC function and follow up with the correct voice call. You'll also be expected to respond to DSC calls. 

Note: You're not allowed to refer to your handbook in the final assessment. But you can prepare & write down your voice calls if you want.

Top tips


Watch the videos below to familiarise yourself with the menu structure of the ICOM Radio you'll use for your assessment. 


Send a DSC Distress alert

Send a DSC Routine Announcement

Add an MMSI number to the Phone Book

Does the online course work on your device?
The training is available as a web-based course, optimized for the latest technology & fully responsive, designed to work across the devices and operating systems listed below.

You will need:

  • Internet connection (Broadband or 3G)
  • Javascript enabled in your web-browser
  • Microphone and speakers / headphone 
  • Pop-ups enabled

Minimum requirements:

  • PC running Windows 10 minimum & latest version of Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Firefox.
  • Mac running 10.13 minimum & latest version of Safari, Google Chrome or Firefox
  • iPad running iOS 11 minimum using Safari
  • Android tablet running 4.1 minimum using Google Chrome

Screen shot from the web based online VHF course

Try the web-based taster course here


Can I do a traditional classroom VHF Radio course at Bay Sea School?

Yes, VHF Radio Classroom Course

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?

You can buy an RYA course pack from us to refresh your knowledge and learn about the new Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. When you feel ready, contact us to arrange a direct assessment. However, we strongly recommend you do the online VHF radio course instead, especially if it's been a few years since you last used a VHF radio.

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.