VHF radio course guide for yacht crew
Written by Michael Henson
The VHF radio is a vital piece of safety equipment on board a yacht and it is important to understand the correct procedures. What if you had to make a mayday call in a foreign country? Would you know how to do it?
A quick summary of the VHF radio courseThe RYA SRC/VHF radio course also sometimes referred to as the marine radio short range course, teaches the basics of VHF radio operation, the correct frequencies (channels) to be used and distress, emergency and medical assistance procedures.
The license is a legal requirement to work on a superyacht and courses range from £40 to £100. Furthermore there is a £60 fee payable direct to the RYA upon course-completion.
Why do you need one?Besides the obvious safety and communication benefits, it is a legal requirement and there are heavy penalties for failing to ensure that both you and your vessel are properly licenced.
Additionaly this course is a pre requisite for candidates taking either their RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Coastal or RYA/MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of Competence examinations.
What does the course/exam involve?Course topics include:
- The basics of radio operation
- The correct frequencies (channels) to be used
- Distress, emergency and medical assistance procedures
- Making ship to shore telephone calls
- Digital Selective Calling (DSC) using simulators
- Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
- Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB)
- Search and Rescue (SART)
Course pre requisitesYou should undertake three hours of pre-course knowledge/reading. It is also recommended that you try to learn the phonetic alphabet before the course, and perhaps also some basic distress-call procedures.
Where can you get your VHF radio license?
There are lots of day courses and RYA recognised online training centres available to learn how to operate a VHF radio, however these courses are not compulsory to take the final RYA assessment exam. The assessment must be done in person and takes approximately one hour.