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VHF Radio Course

RYA VHF Marine Radio (SRC) Short Range Certificate Course

Learn how to Operate your VHF Radio in a confident and professional manner.

The Short Range Certificate or more commonly referred to as the VHF Radio Operators Course is the minimum certification necessary that is mandated by law to be held in order to oversee the functioning of VHF and DSC equipment aboard any vessel flying the flag of the United Kingdom that has been voluntarily fitted with a marine VHF radio. This encompasses both fixed and portable sets

rya 300x133 - RYA VHF Radio Course

Course Duration - 3 Hours pre-reading + 1 Day

(VHF Operators course with the RYA VHF Radio Exam Completed the Same Day)

Minimum Age - 16

(To undertake the RYA VHF Radio Exam to obtain the licence to transmit , however, we accept students from age 12 who wish to just attend the training course to understand how to operate a VHF radio correctly.)

Book Your VHF Radio Course Today


Individual Bookings

List Price £120.00 per person

Included for FREE – for students taking the VHF Radio exam with Duck-2-Water in Southampton, is the RYA VHF Handbook (G31) or RYA VHF e-book (E-G31),  emailed or posted to UK addresses, worth £19.99

An additional payment of £70 for exam and the issue of your VHF/SRC Operators Licence (mandatory payment online via the RYA in advance of your course via the RYA website

Late Availability

From £69 per person

(Special prices and special offers apply to new bookings only)

Online Bookings

(All availability and pricing is in realtime – check for late availability & special price courses)

We accept UK debit cards and VISA/Mastercard credit cards. (NO Charge for paying on debit or credit cards)

(Special Offers and Special Prices apply to new bookings only) To request further information on any Course please use the Chat Box at the bottom of this screen

RYA VHF SRC (Short Range Certificate)

RYA VHF SRC (Short Range Certificate) – VHF/DSC Operators Courses including Marine Radio Training. It is suitable for anyone who wants to control the operation of a VHF Radio on British vessels. If you would prefer the Online VHF Radio Course please look at the RYA Online VHF Radio Course.

You will learn and practise standard VHF radio traffic communications, including requesting a berth at a marina, conducting radio checks with the harbour master, and issuing mayday and distress calls.

Exams for the SRC Operators Certificate involve both a written theoretical test and a practical demonstration of skills using maritime VHF radios.

Since the majority of candidates are required to finish a RYA SRC course before sitting the exam, the vast majority of examinations are conducted at the conclusion of the VHF Radio course in Southampton.


  • How to set up your Marine VHF Radio
  • Which VHF radio channel numbers to use when
  • How to make different types of radio calls
  • What are the correct procedure words to use and when
  • Which other equipment makes up the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
  • Use of the phonetic Alphabet
  • How to send a distress alert and a Mayday call
  • How to operate the functions and menu options
  • Plenty of practice making VHF Radio calls during the course
  • Revision time so you are confident to undertake the exam

Unlike most other RYA sea schools, we do not use unrealistic computer simulators. Instead, we have invested in a full set of DSC radios (with the transmitters removed). This means you are learning on real and state-of-the-art equipment.

We also provide qualified instructors who provide friendly and engaging instruction, and because courses are small, you get the attention you need.

Additional VHF SRC Radio courses can be scheduled for groups of 3 or more.


VHF Radio courses are essential for everyone aged 16 or older who wishes to control the operation of a VHF Radio on any British vessel voluntarily fitted with a VHF Radio or VHF DSC Radio! A VHF Radio is an essential item of safety kit and thus taking a VHF radio course to ensure that you know how to use it is key.

It is somewhat ironic that to helm a high powered powerboat or yacht in the UK you don’t need any form of licence or qualification, yet to use its VHF radio you need a licence for the set and to sit an exam to gain your Radio Operators Certificate/Licence.

This is a one day training course and simply tends to be known as the VHF Course. The course/exam leads to the new Short Range Certificate (SRC) and covers the new Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS Course ). The VHF Radio exam is conducted on the same day as the course. Duck-2-Water will arrange for a RYA VHF Radio examiner to attend. The SRC certificate is issued by the RYA at a later date.

It covers everything you need to know about operating a radio including how to use the right frequencies, procedures for emergencies, Digital Selective Calling (DSC), Search and Rescue (SART), Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS).

Unlike most other RYA sea schools we do not use unrealistic computer simulators, but have invested in a full set of DSC radios (with the transmitters removed). This means you are learning on real and state of the art equipment. Our classroom is fitted with real ICOM DSC radio sets.

After taking the course and passing the exam, you will receive the new Short Range Certificate (SRC), issued by the RYA normally up to 21 working days later depending on what option is selected (At peak processing periods the RYA can extend this time). The RYA do offer a fast track option for an additional fee.

The Short Range Certificate is the minimum qualification that is required by law if you want to operate VHF and DSC equipment on a British flagged vessel that has been voluntarily fitted with a radio, including both handheld sets and fixed sets.

Although this is not required, having some familiarity with the phonetic alphabet before attending would be quite helpful and it is suitable for complete beginners.

A valid licence must be held by the user and the vessel in order to use any maritime VHF, MF, or HF radio. Additionally, you can operate a VHF Radio under the supervision of an existing holder of a current VHF Operators licence.

If you wish to use a marine radio to contact another boat or a marina for a berth, you must first obtain an operator’s licence by passing the required exam at a RYA training facility. This exam may only be completed in person.

Additionally, we employ genuine ICOM radio sets that perform just like a VHF radio out at sea or on your boat.

The VHF Operators licence last forever. However, a ship radio licences last a lifetime, but must be revalidated every 10 years.

Yes, the licensing rules for Marine VHF apply whether you have a fixed VHF set or handheld VHF. The operators licence is called the RYA VHF/SRC Marine radio certificate and can be completed via an online or classroom course, both require you to pass a face to face exam after course completion.

Yes, you can take the online VHF Radio Course, however, for the final SRC VHF Radio exam, you must attend the exam in person at a RYA recognised training centre.

Scheduled VHF Radio courses are held at Ocean Village Marina, Southampton SO14 3XB UK (near Shamrock Quay Marina & Ocean Quay Marina) and in the Solent area. The VHF Radio Course is near London and very commutable.

If you have a group (Minimum of 8 people) from your boat club, marina, boat crew or just friends then we can travel to your area and provide a VHF course to suit your schedule. Please contact us for further information.

This is a short course that only takes one day to complete, including the VHF exam.

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