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Old 06 May 2014, 15:53   #1
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VHF radio course

I'm new to all this, see my previous post, I'm aware that I need insurance and think that flairs/first aid kit/repair kit are all a good idea.

I have also thought about a radio, stayed pretty close to shore so far but would like to go further afield as my confidence grows.

Is it a legal requirement to do a course ?

Is there anything else I should have ?
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Old 06 May 2014, 18:42   #2
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I have also thought about a radio, stayed pretty close to shore so far but would like to go further afield as my confidence grows.

Is it a legal requirement to do a course ?
You need to do the course / pass the 'exam' to use* a VHF radio. You also need to register the radio with Ofcom.

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Is there anything else I should have ?
You'd be wise to do an RYA powerboat level 2 course which will teach you the practical skills as well as the theory / good practice / etc.


*You can use one under the supervision of a qualified person or in an emergency without being qualified yourself. Accordingly most people here would suggest that you should carry a VHF even before getting trained - but bear in mind that the first time you use for real is not the time to learn how!
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Old 06 May 2014, 19:30   #3
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Hmmmm!
I have done the VHF radio course and personally thought it was a load of tosh!!
At the end of the day all the coastguard needs to know is where you are, what is the nature of your emergency, boat size, persons on board etc - all common sense stuff.
All of this info is included in. basic VHF training manuals.
All the course served to do is fine tune your radio etiquette!
If you don't want to stand out like a sore thumb that you are untrained, carry a laminated aide memoir card to keep the info you need fresh in your mind.
I have forgotten all the stuff from my course long ago but carry a aide inside the lid of my fishing box with all the relevant info that I might need bullet pointed.
I reacquaint myself with it each time I go to sea.
At the end of the day the relevant info will be gleaned by those who need to know even if you don't get it accross clearly on your own.
Save yourself 100 quid - skip the course and buy a manual.
Trust me the coastguard does not care whether you have done a course or not - I know!
They will be satisfied that you took the necessary precautions by carrying the radio in the first instance!
There are lots of marinas making a tidy sum from these courses.
As for the powerboat courses these are another matter and more worthy of spending your hard-earned cash but inevitably you need your VHF course to go on most!!!???!!!
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Old 06 May 2014, 19:54   #4
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Meant to add - you don't need to go on a course to be qualified to ring 999.
We are dealing with professional people at the other end who are there to assist and deal in emergency situations.
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Old 07 May 2014, 03:10   #5
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Hmmmm!
I have done the VHF radio course and personally thought it was a load of tosh!!
At the end of the day all the coastguard needs to know is where you are, what is the nature of your emergency, boat size, persons on board etc - all common sense stuff.
All of this info is included in. basic VHF training manuals.
All the course served to do is fine tune your radio etiquette!
If you don't want to stand out like a sore thumb that you are untrained, carry a laminated aide memoir card to keep the info you need fresh in your mind.
I have forgotten all the stuff from my course long ago but carry a aide inside the lid of my fishing box with all the relevant info that I might need bullet pointed.
I reacquaint myself with it each time I go to sea.
At the end of the day the relevant info will be gleaned by those who need to know even if you don't get it accross clearly on your own.
Save yourself 100 quid - skip the course and buy a manual.
Trust me the coastguard does not care whether you have done a course or not - I know!
They will be satisfied that you took the necessary precautions by carrying the radio in the first instance!
There are lots of marinas making a tidy sum from these courses.
As for the powerboat courses these are another matter and more worthy of spending your hard-earned cash but inevitably you need your VHF course to go on most!!!???!!!
Thanks Kaman, so I can buy and register the radio without the course and shouldn't get into too much trouble if I use it in an emergency unqualified ?

I agree, how much training do you need to push a button and shout help !
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Old 07 May 2014, 03:13   #6
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and thanks Poly, I would assume the powerboat course is worth doing, though I'd like to play around a little first make sure I enjoy it before I start on courses. Hence not that keen to go on the radio course but like the idea of having one just encase I need it !
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Old 07 May 2014, 03:37   #7
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Thanks Kaman, so I can buy and register the radio without the course and shouldn't get into too much trouble if I use it in an emergency unqualified ?

I agree, how much training do you need to push a button and shout help !
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Old 07 May 2014, 03:39   #8
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I agree, how much training do you need to push a button and shout help !
Well assuming you actually are in distress shouting "Help" isn't the best advice. Whilst Kaman is correct that the CG will do their best to extract the info they need even if your broadcast is not standard format - in a life threatening emergency a few minutes whilst they get to the right details might be too late. The CG may not be the people who respond (for reasons Kaman should have learned on his course but seems to have forgotten). If I am only a mile away when you make your call but it is incoherent or ineffective you may have to wait a long time for 'official help'.

Nobody on my course was stupid - but certainly not everyone was effective at "pushing a button and shouting help" the first time they did it in a classroom and having just seen what to do. Drifting towards the waves breaking on the cliffs whilst trying to pull your mate back on board is not the time to discover you don't know what the squelch setting does...

For most people it will cost about the same as weekend worth of fuel. The advice about needing VHF certs for the powerboat courses is misleading - only the higher level courses recommend/require it. The PB2 course which is what you would need does not.

I would suggest you get more than one opinion on the value of courses (and providers) before jumping to conclusions - even if those conclusions are the ones you want to hear! In addition to here you could ask the RNLI sea safety advisor, call up your local CG station (they don't enforce radio law).
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Old 07 May 2014, 03:43   #9
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I guess you don't approve ! lol

I'm not saying that I wont do the course, just don't want to spend a lot of time and money on something I may not end up doing, nice to give things a bit of a go first.

I have also thought that it would be nice to try a cruise with a group to get a feel for it all. I really am as novice as they come. Luckily I'm a better swimmer than skipper, so if all else fails......
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Old 07 May 2014, 03:48   #10
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Fair point Poly, at the moment I'm being very careful where I go, conditions etc.

Only just bought the boat, nice to have used it a good few times before going far.
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