REPORT: Hi HDAV. All is on target for my first SIB trip on 2 Jan at Hayling Island harbour. Thanks for asking. Before I tell you about the VHF, celebrate with me as I passed Powerboat Level 2 today with Hayling Sea School! I passed the VHF exam two weeks ago and bought a Standard Horizon HX870 with DSC which is great as it also has GPS, long and lat, compass, knots, man overboard and waypoints.
I thought the VHF exam online by the YHA was excellent. I spent about 5 Sunday mornings for an hour and a half or so studying it with time in between. The online course I think is the same whatever provider you do it with. I did mine with STS (Sea Training Sussex) and the exam near Pevensey Bay. I just went through it on line, using a laptop (you need speaker and microphone to record Mayday etc.). A bit faffy to set up at the beginning but once installed (you download it), it is good and has won software awards. I found the book filled in the gaps (they send you the YHA book). It didn't really come together with the Mayday, Panpan and other calls until the last session, but come together it did. You do practice scenarios and when ready, a pre-exam test which you have 3 goes at and have to get I think above 80 or 85% (not quite sure). Mine cost £65 I think. For the exam itself (costs 60 pounds) I only got one question wrong which was about an aircraft.
The examiner was a river boat policeman on the Thames so that was helpful to ask questions at the end.
Just bought a BST12HP pump also and a battery for the pump and outboard, probably not the right one to start the electric starter motor but hopefully it will work.