RYA VHF Marine Radio
Online Course

"This project has it all" e-Learning Awards Winner

Course pack

Many flotilla and charter companies now require this radio qualification.  The online course is the quickest way to get your VHF Radio Operator Certificate of Competence.  Just complete the online course then book a convenient time to do the final practical exam and written paper in person at a training centre.  Bay Sea School have two radio assessors so it should be fairly easy to arrange a time. 

Please note: There's a separate £60 certificate fee payable to the RYA before you can attend the practical exam.

How to book the online course
Scroll to the bottom of this page to book.  After you've purchased your 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.  Having done that you can start your course.

We'll send you the RYA VHF Handbook.  Should you need any help during the course, our award-winning RYA Yachtmaster Instructor is available by email or phone to guide you.

Study the course offline
You can work through the various modules as many times as you want.  Part of the course includes a realistic VHF Radio simulator which lets you record and playback your radio conversations.

Pre-exam knowledge check
Do this after you've completed all the modules.  You get three attempts and the pass mark is 60%. 

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 your certificate number to qualify for the final practical exam.   It's also required for the license application form.  

Due to COVID 19 the final face to face exms will be conducted on a 1:1 basis in the open air and socially distanced.

Final practical exam 
Please don't be nervous, we want you to do well! It usually takes about two hours to complete everything.  Like mobile phones, the menu structure of VHF radios all differ.  Use the links below to learn how the ICOM radio works because you'll use that type of radio on your practical exam.  You'll also have some time to familiarise yourself with the radio when you arrive. 

The final exam involves choosing the right kind of call to make in different situations and then making some calls.


Final written paper
This is a short & mostly multiple choice paper similar to the pre-exam knowledge check. 

Top tips

TOP TIP - Familiarise yourself with our ICOM Radio
Take all the stress out of the final practical assessment.  It's so much easier if you familiarise yourself with the menu structure of the radio you'll use in the exam before you come.  VHF radios are not as intuitive as mobile phones.  Worth a few minutes of your time!


Sending a Routine Announcement by DSC

Manually entering another boat's MMSI number

Manually entering a position - (It's much easier to have your radio permanently connected to GPS!)

Sending a DSC Distress Alert

VHF Radio Update - Recent changes to the VHF Radio course

Mayday relay update

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

Try the web based online VHF course

Try the web-based taster course here

If you cannot access the web-based course modules, the RYA will supply installation files for a Mac or Windows PC legacy app.


What if my internet connection goes down?
No problem, once you've installed the course on your device, you will study the course offline.
Can I do a traditional classroom VHF Radio course at Bay Sea School?
Yes, click here for more information.
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 take the online course, especially if it's been a few years since you last used a VHF radio.