Course Information

VHF-SRC Radio Courses – Do you have to have a Licence?

IMG_2229We offer 2 ways for students to study for their VHF-SRC Radio licences either through our one day classroom based course or using the RYA Interactive Online course. SRC logo resizedClick here for full details on how to book and to view our interactive course video. Some of our students like to work through the interactive site in their own time but many prefer the classroom based training so that they can maximize the time spent practicing all of their routine, urgency and distress calls using real life training radios.  So what does the course entail and how scary is it to use the radios??? Read on for our FAQs covering Licence requirements, previous knowledge, course duration, VHF-SRC Exams, Course content and practical training.   

Can anyone attend the course and do I HAVE to have a Licence to operate a VHF Radio?

Our one-day VHF-SRC Radio course is suitable for anyone who will be operating a marine vhf radio whether you will be afloat in a canoe, kayak, clinker, speedboat, yacht or motor cruiser. It is a legal requirement to hold the correct licence and the OfCom Enforcement Team can issue and on-the spot fine of up to £5000 or enforce a six month prison sentence. You can see more FAQs on the OfCom website click here.

Do I need any previous knowledge and is there a minimum age?

We don’t expect you to have any prior knowledge or experience of operating a radio, and whilst anyone under the age of 16 can attend the course you must be 16 or older to sit the exam and be issued with an Authority to Operate Licence.  If you wish to have a go before you attend a course you can download the RYA’s VHF taster session here.

How long is the course?

In line with the new European regulations all students have to conduct 10 hours of study; so in order to be able to get the course and the exam done in the same day we send out your course handbook  prior to the course so that you can do 3 hours of pre-reading. There are 2 parts to the day – the classroom based course and the VHF-SRC Exam. Our courses start a 0830 in our Training Centre and run through to around 4pm offering a great mix of both theory and hands-on practical sessions to cover the full syllabus. The exams are then carried out by a separate VHF Assessor between 4pm and 7pm.

The on-line Interactive course is conducted at your own pace but is likely to take around 10 hours to complete all of the exercises. Once you have finished the course and the pre-exam check you can apply to attend a formal exam.

I have used radios before – do I have to do a course or can I  just sit the exam?

You may only attend a VHF-SRC Exam if you have either completed/hold:

  • A Course completion certificate, with unique certificate number on completion of the RYA VHF-SRC On-Line training course; or
  • A signed application form received from attending the 1 day VHF-SRC classroom based course at a registered centre; or
  • If you are already a holder of a current RYA/MCA VHF Certificate, or a UK Aviation Radio Licence. (the examiner will need to see your current VHF or Aviation licence and record the certificate number on your exam application)

How long is the exam?

The exam is made up of 2 parts:

  • 30 minute theory paper comprising of short answer questions and multiple-choice questions covering all areas of the syllabus. Students must achieve the pass mark.
  • Practical exam using the training radios that is conducted in groups (max 4 per exam) usually lasts around around 60mins to 1.5 hours in total. Students have to demonstrate that they can correctly set-up and operate the radios, make routine, securite, urgency and distress calls and correctly respond to various scenarios.

How much does the Course and the Exams Cost?

The one day classroom based course costs £99 and the Interactive online training course costs £75. The exam is the same for both courses and costs £60 per candidate payable in addition to your course fee and is payable directly to your examiner either by card or cheque.  Licences are usually issued within 2-3 weeks but you can pay an additional fee to fast track your application. you can book your classroom course, Interactive On-Line course or your exam through our website click here for more details.

What will I learn on the course?

Both the on-line and the classroom based courses follow the same course syllabus and topics include:

  • Digital Selective Calling (DSC) using ICOM, Standard Horizon marine radio simulators.
  • Distress, Urgency and Routine RT Procedures
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB)
  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
  • Making ship to shore and ship to ship calls.
  • Search and Rescue Transponders (SART)
  • The basics of radio operation.
  • The correct frequencies (channels) to be used.
  • Ships Radio licencing (Ofcom)

How much practical hand-on time is there?

Our classroom based courses offer as much practical hand-on time using the radios as possible. We know that students learn best when they are using the radios to understand how they work, correct set-up procedures, a variety of voice calls and of course how to correctly use the DSC for routine, securite, urgency and distress calls. Our Instructors will also play the parts of other vessels, marina and the coast guard to make the practical sessions as real as possible.  Students will operate real radios throughout the day and we offer one radio to 2 students.

The on-line Interactive course is full of practical exercises to ensure that you are fully prepared for your exam. When you arrive for your exam at out centre you will have 10-15 mins to familiarize yourself with the radio sets that you will be using forth exam.

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