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Old 20 June 2021, 17:27   #1
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Vhf radio

I see a few people on here saying they carry portable vhf radio.
They are reasonably cheap and was wondering should I get one.
I never go out more than a mile.

If I did get one, is it essential to have a licence for it? My thinking is that hopefully it will never be used and if it was necessary to use it, I would have bigger things to worry about than a fine for using a radio without a licence.

Cheers all.
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Old 20 June 2021, 17:38   #2
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Yes you should have a licence with a vhf handheld a short course will enable you to get your point over in a way where you can be located by the necessary services in a problem

A little distance if the tide is carrying you out will soon exhaust you to swim against it

Worth the money and keep it on your person
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Old 20 June 2021, 18:04   #3
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Do you know how much it costs for the course roughly please?
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Old 21 June 2021, 02:11   #4
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I think they are around £60 ,well worth it
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Old 21 June 2021, 04:21   #5
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This has been well covered recently, see:
https://www.rib.net/forum/f37/vhf radio rules


Summary, a vhf license is mandatory and free of charge, an operator license (to transmit) is highly advisable but not needed for emergency use.
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Old 21 June 2021, 04:47   #6
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Just waiting for my vhf. Mine won't let you use it unless you have a mmsi number that you will get when applying for license with ofcom which is free.
I still plan on doing the radio course after along with pb2 course which everyone here seems to think both are well worthwhile.
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Old 21 June 2021, 07:02   #7
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Originally Posted by Wazzajnr View Post
I see a few people on here saying they carry portable vhf radio.
They are reasonably cheap and was wondering should I get one.
I never go out more than a mile.

If I did get one, is it essential to have a licence for it? My thinking is that hopefully it will never be used and if it was necessary to use it, I would have bigger things to worry about than a fine for using a radio without a licence.

Cheers all.
/question for you, the radio is for emergency use only, you are a mile off shore and engine dies, the tide turns and wind picks up, while trying to fix and start engine, you have drifted, rain has come in and visibility has dropped to less than mile you can no longer see land........you are cold, wet and tired (at this point your boat is floating and you are still in it, but a freak wave may come and tip you at any moment)

Is now the time to try and use an unfamiliar piece of technology with specific set of operating requirements?



Or would you rather learn how to use it in a warm dry classroom with no pressure and be able to hail the small fishing boat you can see across the bay heading in before the impending storm and ask if they could possibly give you a tow?

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Old 21 June 2021, 13:35   #8
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/question for you, the radio is for emergency use only, you are a mile off shore and engine dies, the tide turns and wind picks up, while trying to fix and start engine, you have drifted, rain has come in and visibility has dropped to less than mile you can no longer see land........you are cold, wet and tired (at this point your boat is floating and you are still in it, but a freak wave may come and tip you at any moment)

Is now the time to try and use an unfamiliar piece of technology with specific set of operating requirements?



Or would you rather learn how to use it in a warm dry classroom with no pressure and be able to hail the small fishing boat you can see across the bay heading in before the impending storm and ask if they could possibly give you a tow?

An extremely good point I would say
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Old 21 June 2021, 13:50   #9
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/question for you, the radio is for emergency use only, you are a mile off shore and engine dies, the tide turns and wind picks up, while trying to fix and start engine, you have drifted, rain has come in and visibility has dropped to less than mile you can no longer see land........you are cold, wet and tired (at this point your boat is floating and you are still in it, but a freak wave may come and tip you at any moment)

Is now the time to try and use an unfamiliar piece of technology with specific set of operating requirements?



Or would you rather learn how to use it in a warm dry classroom with no pressure and be able to hail the small fishing boat you can see across the bay heading in before the impending storm and ask if they could possibly give you a tow?

Obviously you could familiarise yourself with its use before you start with a free online course: https://pzsc.org.uk/radio/

And you are somewhat over cooking the operating requirements. In emergency press and hold red button and then ask for help by pressing walkie talkie style talk button.

Doesn’t really matter what you say in an emergency as everyone will be paying full attention if you mention the word Mayday…

I’m not saying don’t get a license, but I think I’m saying don’t not buy a radio because you haven’t done the course. It might save your life in the meantime.
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Old 21 June 2021, 15:08   #10
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Obviously you could familiarise yourself with its use before you start with a free online course: https://pzsc.org.uk/radio/

And you are somewhat over cooking the operating requirements. In emergency press and hold red button and then ask for help by pressing walkie talkie style talk button.

Doesn’t really matter what you say in an emergency as everyone will be paying full attention if you mention the word Mayday…

I’m not saying don’t get a license, but I think I’m saying don’t not buy a radio because you haven’t done the course. It might save your life in the meantime.


I’m saying if you buy a radio know how to use it............properly.....


It could save your life, if you don’t want to do a course and only want it for an emergency buy a plb and keep your phone with you


“Buying it to only use in an emergency” is a fallacy, buy it, use it, be confident in using it, practise makes perfect.
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Old 21 June 2021, 15:11   #11
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And you are somewhat over cooking the operating requirements. In emergency press and hold red button and then ask for help by pressing walkie talkie style talk button.

Doesn’t really matter what you say in an emergency as everyone will be paying full attention if you mention the word Mayday…
whilst I have some sympathy for your argument, I've listened to a mayday message from someone who had no idea what they were saying or doing: talking too fast, mike too close to mouth, no useful content in the transmission, not a great grasp of the PTT button and when to let go of it. The coastguard were very patient as she was obviously distressed but probably 10 minutes were wasted whilst they worked out where she was (too far for me to help), and exactly what the problem was (her husband had collapsed).
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Old 21 June 2021, 15:56   #12
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True but even trained, panic can cause that. I’ve been on a dive boat and listened to a competent person completely mess up a call for help forgetting the name of the boat we were on, location and so on until they calmed down.

Kind of lends itself to having the instructions on laminate snd to hand
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Old 21 June 2021, 16:08   #13
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Kind of lends itself to having the instructions on laminate snd to hand
There are free stickers and key rings you can get from rnli or MCA iirc

Regular use and practise is key so when the brown stuff it heading to the spiny things you are calm and it’s an automatic response

Not just “help help help, coastguard coastguard help help help”
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Old 21 June 2021, 16:10   #14
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We live on a locked in marina and a bit of training followed by lots and lots of use makes it much easier.
It takes a while to get familiar with using a vhf and eventually makes it an effective tool.
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Old 21 June 2021, 16:33   #15
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Crumbs, what have I started here!?!? ��������

OK, it seems there are two camps here.
My feeling is I should do the course and I will, the issue is timing, in other words, I might not get to squeeze the course into my already hectic lifestyle for a month or two, but meantime, I do think I will buy a radio and look at some online stuff to give me a good grounding.

I plan to do the powerboat course anyway and will probably tag the vhf course onto that hopefully as the plan is to eventually get something bigger, faster and better at going a bit further out.

The money isn't the issue just the time. However, I think I would rather have a radio sooner at the risk of having to use it illegally in the event of an emergency. That has to be better than not having a radio at all.
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Old 21 June 2021, 18:03   #16
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“The money isn't the issue just the time. However, I think I would rather have a radio sooner at the risk of having to use it illegally in the event of an emergency. That has to be better than not having a radio at all.”

Yes and if you do buy one just read this before the course

https://www.rya.org.uk/e-news/up-to-...ys-and-pan-pan
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Old 21 June 2021, 18:24   #17
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for the benefit of the OP - my thoughts are that the training and courses - apart from the knowledge you get, also give you confidence.
And that confidence, I always found enhanced my time spent on the water and I enjoyed it more.
I know life schedules are busy and hectic, but I can't recommend highly enough, giving up some time for a course or two.
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Old 22 June 2021, 00:53   #18
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It could save your life, if you don’t want to do a course and only want it for an emergency buy a plb and keep your phone with you
What is the response time for a PLB compared to a VHF DSC distress call? How long does it take for the umpteen other boats in your immediate vicinity to realised you have sent out a PLB distress signal?

In your hypothetical situation, I’d still argue you are much better off with a VHF and just familiarising yourself with how to make a Mayday call and writing it down easy to hand somewhere.
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Old 22 June 2021, 02:06   #19
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Crumbs, what have I started here!?!? ��������

OK, it seems there are two camps here.
My feeling is I should do the course and I will, the issue is timing, in other words, I might not get to squeeze the course into my already hectic lifestyle for a month or two, but meantime, I do think I will buy a radio and look at some online stuff to give me a good grounding.

I plan to do the powerboat course anyway and will probably tag the vhf course onto that hopefully as the plan is to eventually get something bigger, faster and better at going a bit further out.

The money isn't the issue just the time. However, I think I would rather have a radio sooner at the risk of having to use it illegally in the event of an emergency. That has to be better than not having a radio at all.


A few things:
The VHF exam is the only bit that is ‘instructor facing’. The actual course is online. Speak to whoever you plan to so pb2/ vhf with. If you sign up to vhf course with them they should give you a link and password for it then do the exam when your able to. It’s not rocket science and won’t actually take that long. Would you be better to do exam now yes, if you can’t would you be better to do course now and be able to use it properly should you need it, obvs as my kids would say. You don’t need the certificate to use it in emergency and no one has or will ever be prosecuted for doing that. You’d be better having it but you’ve planned that in for later so all good. Fix to your LJ or jacket taking into account when you need it it will likely be inflated, make sure it won’t impede inflation and your actually able to get your hands on it. You want one that floats
Plb and phone vs vhf:
For me depends what you do. Single handed out at sea in quiet areas prob plb if I had to choose. Busy estuary, VHF. In reality I do both.
All just my opinion of course
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Old 22 June 2021, 04:12   #20
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PLB vs VHF
They do different jobs & are not mutually exclusive. It’s a bit like comparing a spanner to a screwdriver.
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