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Old 18 January 2002, 05:42   #1
Country: UK - Wales
Town: Bangor, North Wales
Make: Tornado
Length: 5m +
Engine: Evinrude 70hp OB
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 93
VHF radios

I've found a VHF that I can sort of afford but what are the other costs? Is training required?
Do I have to pass exams?

Is there any milage to fitting a VHF and not
transmitting unless I've buggered up so bad I
couldn't care less what the law throws at me?


dpround is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18 January 2002, 06:03   #2
Country: Canada
Town: Newfoundland
Length: no boat
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 2,097
Yes and Yes

You need to pass a VHF exam (a fairly simple affair) to be a legal VHF user. You can get 1/2 day training courses with the exam thrown in for a reasonable price I think. You would also need a ship radio licence for the transmitter and boat which costs £22.

It is the lack of the latter that is probably likely to make you fall foul of the authorities rather than not having a personal licence. (Unless you do something silly like transmit abuse contininuously on CH16 etc etc). You could have a VHF without a operators certificate and only use in an emergency without too many worries.

HOWEVER, In the spirit of good practice I would recommend that you take the exam - so you know what you are doing because distress procedures form a fundamental part of the exam! - and get a ship licence to be legal. That way you can use the radio with confidence and not have to worry about potential issues. Frankly the cost should not be that significant to prohibit it.


Alan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18 January 2002, 07:11   #3
Country: UK - England
Town: Shaftesbury
Make: currently boatless (formerly Tornado)
Length: 5.4
Engine: Mariner 40
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 35
In praise of training....

As one who has taught the VHF syllabus, I would recommend doing the course and taking the test. It is now known as the Short Range Certificate (SRC).

There are many places where (as Alan suggests) you can do the course and the exam as a package the main advantage (apart from being legal) is that you should end up knowing how to give the RIGHT information in the BEST way to ensure that you get the help that you need.

Learning how to do it right may mean that if you get involved in a real emergency your training should kick in and ensure you communicate in a manner most likely to get you the help you need.

If you fancy a day out in Hampshire I can thoroughly recommend a school run by John Finch, called RT Training. John managed to get me through my LRC and on the back of his training I have taught many others both civilian and Royal Navy for the VHF exam (and all my students passed so he must have taught me something!)

He has a website at and I have no financial interest in his courses, he's a good teacher and a nice guy.
Allan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18 January 2002, 07:39   #4
Country: UK - England
Town: Upavon, Wiltshire
Boat name: Dromedary
Make: Ribtec
Length: 6.55
Engine: Honda 130
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 183
I have also attended one of John's courses to update from the old VHF cert. to the new DSC one and found the course covered not only the info required to pass the exam but lots of extra bits that were very helpful. As mentioned earlier it's when it all goes wrong that you fall back on training, and although the new DSC sets send your position info (if linked to GPS) you still need to know the manual way. Plus the VHF is a very good way to contact others you may have arranged to meet somewhere and on two occasions I have been able to help other mariners having problems because I heard them on the VHF and was able because of my location and the speed and flexibility of a RIB to attend quicker than others.

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Old 18 January 2002, 09:32   #5
Country: UK - Isle of Man
Town: Peel
Boat name: Jane L
Make: Scorpion
Length: 8m +
Engine: 315 Yanmar
MMSI: 235077935
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 200

Get the VHF and worry about the rest later - it is a very important safety item, and can be of great value even if you only know how to switch it on and listen to safety broadcasts, weather etc.

The others are right in so far as you should have a licence for the transmitter and you should yourself be qualified to operate it, but I feel you should not use the absence of these as an excuse for not being equipped with a VHF.

From your boat size I would guess that you're talking about a handheld VHF, so you are unlikely be caught without a licence in the short term (if ever), so get the radio and save up for it.

Once you've done that, save up for the SRC course.

Get the radio.


ps - I am neither condoning, nor encouraging you to act in any way which is illegal. Just thought I would make that quite clear.
Allen is offline   Reply With Quote

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