In response to Poly's rant lol,
Let's start by comparing the all of the functions that you can perform on a VHF which are let's face it basic, to all of the complex functions of a smart phone.
Most users of smart phones will never use anywhere near 90% of the functions availiable on them.
Most will only ever use the basic text messaging, internet, a few apps and the phone call facilities
Most only want a VHF to perform basic functions - particularly sibbers with handhelds that only have VERY VERY basic functions.
Smart phones don't come with instructions - you go online to find out how to perform the more technical tasks. Their owners don't have to go on a course.
Even the most advanced VHF radio is VERY simple to use to its full potential in comparison to a smart phone.
For those who really want to know how to use all of their VHF functions all the info is in its instruction manual and on line for them to learn and revisit at their own leisure.
Most people I know and have spoken haven't qualified or registered as they don't want the hassle of :
A Travelling distances to the nearest test centre
B Expense of course / exam
C Are of an age where they haven't been in a classroom environment for many years and recoil in horror at the thought
D Would like the option of doing things at their own pace in the comfort of their own homes via the internet
In this digital age I think there would be a greater uptake if the whole course and exam could be done online (like the driving theory test) with a lower price tag attached to it. I would even champion having to recertify every 5 years by going online and doing refresher training and an online test. Let's be honest how much are you going to retain from a 1 day course in 10 years time??? For those who want to go and do the course in person then fine why have that option as well.
I am in total agreement with registration and some form of qualification to legally hold and use a VHF device. What I object to is there being no other option than having to go and do the course and exam and pay 60 quid for a 30 min exam or 100 quid for the day course and exam.
With regards to quantitive data regarding uptake figures I can only draw on my personal knowledge of guys who go fishing with me in small glass fibre boats and sibs. Of the ten I know 9 carry VHF but only two are qualified and registered most sight the reasons above for not registering and qualifying.
I think some of the guys on here who are defending the current set up have a vested interest in keeping things as they are as it provides them in part with a form of employment.
I await Poly's response