RYA VHF Short Range Radio Operators Course (DSC)

  • A Marine VHF radio on board a boat as well as being useful for routine communication, is an essential piece of safety equipment, however to legally have one on board, there has to be at least one person with the VHF SRC Operators Certificate. Successful completion of this one day RYA VHF SRC Radio Course which can also be completed online, will provide you with this certificate and will also allow you to supervise untrained people in its use on board your vessel.

    During the course where you will use real marine VHF radios rather than computer simulators you will be taught:

    •  Hands on operation of marine VHF/DSC (digital selective calling) equipment
    •  The phonetic alphabet
    •  Basic radio language
    •  Use of correct channels
    •  Making calls to other stations
    •  Sending a distress alert and distress Mayday message
    •  Sending an urgency alert and Pan Pan message
    •  Sending a safety alert and Securité message
    •  Making routine alerts and calls
    •  Automatic Transmitter Identification System – ATIS
    •  Radio Rules and regulations

    The DSC element of the radio falls within the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) and as such you will also be taught about other equipment which falls within this scheme such as Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) and Search and Rescue Transponders (SARTs).

    In addition to the theory, by the end of the day you will have practiced making mayday calls, learnt about Pan Pan and securite calls as well as general ship to shore communications using both the voice and DSC elements of the radio.

    To view a full RYA VHF / SRC Radio Course syllabus please click on the tab above.

    Throughout the course each student will be allocated a real VHF DSC radio to practice radio procedures in the classroom environment.

    The VHF Radio Course is completed over one day from 8.30am to approximately 7.30pm and there will be both a practical assessment on the use of the VHF DSC Radio and a written assessment after the training which will be conducted by an external assessor. Prior to attending you will need to complete 3 hours self study. On booking the course you will be issued with a pack including the RYA Handbook and instructions on what areas you need to learn before the course.

    On successful completion of the VHF SRC Radio course we will forward your application form to the RYA together with your £60 examination fee, who will then forward your certificate to you.

    We realise that not everyone wants to attend a classroom based course so we also offer the online RYA VHF SRC Radio Course. For more information please click here

  • To be awarded the VHF Short Range Certificate students must be able to:

    1. Distress Situations
      • Define a distress situation
      • Initiate a DSC Distress Alert with position and time input manually or automatically
      • Send a Mayday call and message by voice
      • Respond appropriately to a DSC distress alert and to a Mayday call and message including relay of a distress message.
      • Know how to deploy an EPIRB and a SART
    2. Urgency Situations
      • Define an urgency situation
      • Initiate a DSC urgency alert
      • send a Pan Pan call and message by voice
      • Respond appropriately to an urgency message
    3. Safety Situations
      • Identify a situation in which a safety message is appropriate
      • Input a DSC safety alert
      • Send a safety message by voice
      • Receive Maritime Safety Information by NAVTEX
    4. Routine Communication
      • Initiate a DSC routine alert
      • Establish communication and exchange messages with other stations by voice on appropriate channels
      • Test the radiotelephone by means of an appropriate test call
      • Initiate a DSC self test
      • Enter a DSC group and individual MMSI
      • Maintain an appropriate listening watch on DSC and voice channels
      • Use the International Phonetic Alphabet
  • RYA VHF SRC Marine Radio Course - FAQ’s

    These are a few of the questions we get asked by people booking on the RYA VHF SRC Radio course. If you have any further queries or are unsure whether this is the course for you please call us on 01243 432485 and we will be only too happy to chat to you.

    Do I need to complete the RYA VHF SRC Radio Course?

    If you have a VHF radio with or without DSC (including a handheld VHF Radio) on board your boat or you are going to charter a boat with a radio on board then one person on board needs to be trained by completing the one day VHF SRC Radio Course to obtain their operators certificate.

    In addition prior to obtaining the RYA Coastal Skipper practical, RYA MCA Yachtmaster Coastal or the RYA MCA Yachtmaster Offshore Certificate of competence you must have the RYA VHF SRC Operators certificate in addition to a valid RYA First Aid Certificate.

    Do I need to do any preparation before the VHF Radio Course?

    The answer to this is yes. A pack will be sent out to you which includes a copy of the RYA VHF Handbook and you will be required to complete at least 3 hours of self study before attending. Details of what you need to learn will be provided on booking the course.

    Is there an exam?
    There will be both a short written paper and a formal practical assessment carried out by an external assessor.

    What type of person does this course?

    We have a wide range of people from varying backgrounds on the VHF SRC Radio Course, including dinghy sailors, sea kayakers, powerboaters and yachties. Some people have their own boats, some crew on other peoples or want to charter.

    What do I need to bring with me to the course?

    You will need to bring a passport sized photograph together with £60 RYA fee and a notepad

    What time does the course start and finish?
    The course will start at 8.30am and finish at about 7.30pm to allow time for the practical assessments

    What is included in the course fee?
    The price includes all course materials to be able to complete the course including the RYA VHF Handbook. There is an additional £60 RYA certificate fee due on completion of the course

    Where is the course held?

    It will be held at one of our classroom in Emsworth Yacht Harbour, Thorney Road, Emsworth, Hants PO10 8BP

    What qualifications or experience do I need to complete the RYA VHF SRC Radio Course?

    You do not need to have any qualifications or experience to be able to complete this course, though you do need to do at least 3 hours structured preparation before attending.

    What qualification will I get once I have completed the course?

    On successful completion of the course your application will be sent away to the RYA who will issue you with the RYA VHF SRC Operators certificate

    How many people will there be on the course?

    We have a maximum of 6 people on a course.

    Do I get to use a Real radio?

    Yes, each student gets to use a real Standard Horizon VHF Radio (it is depowered so wont transmit outside the classroom). We aim to make the course as realistic as possible so we don’t use computer simulators.

    Is there a minimum age to be able to complete the RYA VHF Radio Course?

    You need to be 12 or over to complete the course and be issued with a certificate of competence but you will not be able to complete the exams and so will not be able to receive the full authority to operate until you are 16.

    How do I book?

    Just click on the book now button

  • Hi Karen, Just a quick email to say thanks. Thoroughly enjoyed the course and appreciated the high standard of training and assessment. Thanks again
    Nigel Matthews
    Thank you for organising a great Short Range Radio Certificate Course. Mike was great to learn from and it was a great approach to the assessment.
    James Spragg
    Just a quick email to say thanks. Thoroughly enjoyed the course and appreciated the high standard of training and assessment.
    Nigel Matthews
    Hi Karen, Just wanted to thank you for the course on Friday it was very thorough and really enjoyable.
    Andy French
    Thank you for yesterdays course , Mike was beyond excellent , not only did he "know his stuff" he was patient and able to put it over in a understandable way , I learnt far more than I anticipated and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience , please pass on my thanks to him and to you for hosting the event and providing all the excellent equipment etc
    Simon Field
    Thank you also for a most informative and enjoyable day yesterday. Not only did I learn a lot but it was fun. The next challenge is to remember it all! To this end, the notes will be useful refresher material over the coming months before next season when practical use of VHF will be possible again.
    Tony Stimson
    Once again thank you.
    Peter Norval
    Karen came to Hillingdon to run the VHF Radio Course 'in-house' which is a brilliant service. It was professionally run, in a friendly atmosphere, with good visual aids and equipment. Our group was small which creates a great learning situation and it was a productive and enjoyable day. We will definitely be using Emsworth School of Navigation for future courses for our staff.
    Jeff Creak - Hillingdon Activity Centre
    Thank you for the VHF course. It was very enjoyable, and with only five students in the class and a real working radio each, I learned a lot in a short time.
    Rob Pitt
    Just a short note to thank you very much for yesterdays training for the VHF/DSC operator's licence. The course was run in a highly efficient and professional manner yet an informal atmosphere prevailed throughout the day. I was delighted to pass the exam - obviously! But one is never certain about the outcome of these things. You prepared us well. I have no hesitation in recommending your school.
    Julian Biggs
    Just a quick email to thank you for the course yesterday - it was very enjoyable as well as being instructive and I had a really good day.
    Charlotte L
    Just wanted to say thank you for running such an efficient and enjoyable and instructive course yesterday. We all enjoyed it and it was incredible how much you got through in the time and how you made something we all thought was rather terrifying so much fun. I do not think it could be done better. I shall feel so much more confident now and have you to thank for that. Many thanks and good sailing.
    John Edge
    Just wanted to say thanks again for the VHF Course today. I thought the instruction was excellent, and I really enjoyed the course.
    John Wilson
    Thank you for an interesting course last week, it certainly taught me a lot regarding the VHF sets themselves, Very enjoyable indeed and once again many thanks
    Danny Cain
    Just wanted to drop you a quick line to say a huge thank you for an enjoyable VHF Radio course last Sat. I was a bit worried that I wouldn't keep up, as I had been unable to read up before hand due to a tight work schedule. But due to your relaxed and comprehensive teaching, I was able to achieve my goal. I'm looking forward to our sailing holiday in Greece even more now! Thank you again and I hope to do another course soon and will definitely come to ESN.
    Freya Carter
    Just wanted to drop you a line to say thanks for an enjoyable course on 2nd October, despite it being one of the best boating days available this year! Overall I found the course well paced and informative and will be recommending you to friends who need SRC
    Alastair Twigger
    Both courses were very well run in a professional yet relaxed atmosphere. I hadn’t been in a classroom for a while and was a little apprehensive but Karen’s friendly approach immediately put me at ease. She made learning fun and effective. I would happily recommend Emsworth School of Navigation to anyone looking for a shore based course
    Victoria Bassadone
    Both courses were fantastically run. Very engaging and taken at the perfect pace. Tea and coffee with a plentiful supply of biscuits added to what was already guaranteed to be a great few days! A highly recommended school for anyone to go to.
    Ben Dukoff-Gordon
  • 1 Day Courses

    • Monday, 6 February 2023
    • Saturday, 18 February 2023
    • Saturday, 11 March 2023
    • Sunday, 26 March 2023
    • Saturday, 22 April 2023
    • Saturday, 13 May 2023
    • Saturday, 27 May 2023
    • Saturday, 17 June 2023
to discuss your requirements you can contact us seven days a week from 8.00a.m to 7.30pm on 01243 432485 or 07702 842190

Cost: £75

(including the RYA VHF Handbook) plus £60 RYA fee

Next Course Dates

1 Day Courses

  • Monday, 6 February 2023
  • Saturday, 18 February 2023
  • Saturday, 11 March 2023
  • Sunday, 26 March 2023
  • Saturday, 22 April 2023
  • Saturday, 13 May 2023
  • Saturday, 27 May 2023
  • Saturday, 17 June 2023

Emsworth School of Navigation

Emsworth Yacht Harbour,
Thorney Road,
Emsworth
Hampshire,
PO10 8BP

  • 07702 842190
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