Jamie uses the VHF radio

RYA VHF Marine Radio

Short Range Certificate

1-day Classroom Course

You must do this RYA course and pass the practical exam to get your VHF radio operators licence.  To use a fixed or handheld VHF marine band radio it is a legal requirement to have the qualification.  Your licence is then valid for life.

RYA VHF Handbook


Your course pack includes the RYA's "VHF Radio Handbook".  The final qualifying exam will be held on the same day.   Please note, there is a separate exam & certification fee of £60 payable to the RYA. 

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.

Scroll to the bottom of the page to book

In a hurry?  You can do the radio course online  

There are two steps to gaining your VHF radio operator licence.

Step 1. Study the course content:  either Online or on a 1-day classroom course

Step 2. Complete the practical exam, in person, at a training centre.

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.  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 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 Alert by DSC

Manually enter 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


I need to get the licence soon.  What's the quickest way?
The online course is the quickest way to obtain the license.  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?
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.
 Date  Time  Places Left

Sunday 13th October

9.30 8

Click here for course joining instructions