Jamie uses the VHF radio

RYA VHF Marine Radio

Short Range Certificate

1-day Classroom Course

This is the training course you must do if you use a fixed or handheld VHF marine band radio. It's a legal requirement! Your operator license is then valid for life.

The 1-day classroom course includes the RYAs "VHF Radio Handbook", either the paperback version, or the eBook. The final exam will be held on the same day. Note, there is an additional exam & certification fee of £60 payable to the RYA on the day.

If you're aiming to do a Day Skipper practical course why not do your VHF radio course beforehand. That way you can practise what you've learnt on a real radio during your Day Skipper sailing course. 

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

Don't want to wait for the next classroom course?  Do the radio course now, online  

With the arrival of the multi award-winning online radio course many people find it more convenient to study the VHF radio course in their own time and at their own pace. It can be downloaded to your PC, iPad or MAC and is then yours for future reference.

After successfully completing the online radio course you will need to attend a training centre in person to complete the final practical assessment & written paper. This usually takes a couple of hours. We have two assessors at Bay Sea School so it is usually easy to arrange a convenient time.

Regardless of whether you choose the online or classroom course, there are two steps to gaining your VHF radio operator license.

  1. Study the course: Online or on a 1-day classroom course
  2. Complete the written & practical assessments 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 assessment.

The short written test is mostly multiple choice. The practical part involves making different kinds of calls on a real ICOM radio demonstrating the correct procedures you'll learn on the course.

TOP TIP - Familiarise yourself with the ICOM Radio 
These short Youtube videos will help you prepare for your practical assessment. They show you around the menu of an ICOM radio similar to the ones Bay Sea School use for the practical assessment. It's no different to learning how to use a new mobile phone. It's simple once you've familiarised yourself with the menu structure. So make the practical assessment easy by getting familiar with the ICOM radio before you come! 

Sending a Routine Alert by DSC

Manually inputting 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 license 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?

You can buy a student course pack from us. Refresh your knowledge and learn about the new Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. When you feel ready, contact us to arrange for a direct assessment.

However, we would strongly recommend you to take the online course. Especially if it's been a few years since you last used a VHF radio.

 Date  Time  Places
Sunday 13th May 2018 9.30 am 6