Is vhf course needed

Places, technique, kayaks, safety, the sea...
Gordon Gilzean
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:26 pm
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

Hi guys I'm thinking about adding a vhf to my kit and I'm wondering if I would really need to do a vhf course, I think I don't but thought I'd ask here just to hear some opinions, all I want the vhf for is for solo paddling to have an emergency contact to the coast guard if something drastic happens (calling the coast guard is not something I'd do unless I really had no other choice) and for listening into weather updates while out at sea, I'm usually out with a group of people in my kayak club and all have and use a vhf, not all of them have done a course although they are all registered, we use these to contact each other while on trips and check up on each other in rough seas and bad visibility, if I only intend on using this to listen to weather updates, genuine emergency calls to the coast guard if the situation should arise and for in group talk with friends do I need to do a course or is just registering for a license enough? Thanks in advance

pathbrae
Posts: 431
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:42 pm
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 37 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by pathbrae »

No, no and yes.. So thats a yes then

No - you don't need a license to listen to weather updates. No, you don't really need a license to call for help in an emergency but yes - you are required to hold a short range certificate if you intend to use a portable marine band VHF to comunicate with others in your group.

Why would you not do the course and get the certificate? It's a one-off cost for a perpetual license, the course will teach you the correct radio protocols and it will teach you the correct procedure for calling for assistance, when to call pan-pan, when to call mayday and what information you should give in each of these sittuations.

The set needs to be registered, you need to hold a license. If it's a DSC set then registering will also get you the necessary MMSI number.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

Gordon Gilzean
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:26 pm
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

Thank you for that information, I can't disagree with all that you are saying as the course is definitely something I can see myself doing in the near future, even just for a better understanding of it all and to have the paperwork aswell, I was hoping I could just order a vhf and start using it right away (once the license arrives) as I do think it would be a benefit on solo paddles aswell as group trips but I don't want to get myself into trouble if I need certificates

PlymouthDamo
Posts: 363
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:31 pm
Has thanked: 22 times
Been thanked: 46 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by PlymouthDamo »

If you are planning a trip before you're able to do a course, then yes - just buy a VHF and take it with you. You'll need to find a basic guide to the protocols on using marine VHF in the UK, but I'm sure Google will come up with the goods.

I don't believe that there is any proactive enforcement on marine VHF training. I was involved in a fatal incident a few years ago, during which I broke one of the cardinal rules of VHF protocol - I gave the casualty's name over the air. Despite this, throughout the police investigation and then appearing as the main witness at the Coroner's inquest, I was never once asked whether I'd had VHF training and our team were only ever given praise for how we'd managed the incident. I did hold a VHF certificate, and although I did make that one big blunder, I felt confident in what I needed to be saying to who and this meant minimal delay in initiating the rescue operation. That's worth the cost of a training course, but if you don't have the training for whatever reason, still take a VHF with you - better to be having an awkward radio conversation than have no means of summoning help.

The other aspect of VHF usage is helping other people. On two occasions I've been able to prevent a rescue operation being launched because I was in the area with a radio and able to paddle in close to rocks and locate the spear-fishermen whose boats had been reported as adrift. If you haven't done your training course, you may well feel reticent about talking to the coastguard for fear of dropping a clanger.

RichardP
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat Nov 17, 2018 8:08 pm
Has thanked: 5 times
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by RichardP »

Hi Gordon

You may find OFCOM link useful.

Regards Richard

https://www.ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-li ... io/vhf-faq

Gordon Gilzean
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:26 pm
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

Thanks guys this is all really helpful, PlymouthDamo I'm sorry to hear that mate, I'm glad your OK but that must have been a horrible experience for you and your group, I have looked up the protocol for making mayday calls and it doesn't look too hard, there's even a card I can print out that explains each step so I was thinking of just keeping this with the vhf that way I can follow it if I need to, thanks for that link Richard I'll have a good read through that

Gordon Gilzean
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:26 pm
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

I just had a good read of that ofcom link provided by Richard and it reads well, it's looking like I don't need any additional certificates to use a vhf within 12 nautical miles of low tide so this should be plenty coverage for my uses, if I'm wrong please correct me but it does look like that

grizzly7
Posts: 10
Joined: Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:39 pm
Has thanked: 2 times
Been thanked: 1 time

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by grizzly7 »

Hi

I did the course late last year and I don't remember anyone saying you can't name people?!? The course was also not aimed at small personal craft, so being advised to have a pencil and paper always close by was a bit daft for instance. But then discovering that a DSC Cobra radio can play back what you've just heard which may do the same thing, depending how that works in reality, might be good.

I think the book you learn from is ISBN-10: 1905104030 or ISBN-13: 978-1905104031 if you wanted to read up.

Jason

andynormancx
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:58 pm
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 11 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by andynormancx »

I think maybe the rule of not divulging information obtained when listening on other people’s transmissions has been mixed up a bit here.

I’m not aware of any rule about not using a name in a transmission.

User avatar
JB-NL
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 9:14 am
Location: Nl
Been thanked: 4 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by JB-NL »

andynormancx wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 4:42 pm
I think maybe the rule of not divulging information obtained when listening on other people’s transmissions has been mixed up a bit here.

I’m not aware of any rule about not using a name in a transmission.
In general with radio communication you use your call sign or the name of your boat/radio station/air plane, not the name of a person. This makes it clear for everybody who is talking to who.
If you do not have the name of a vessel e.g. that is on a collision course, you can call the vessel by describe itl (colour/ type) and its heading on the emergency channel.


JB
--==Never go faster than your Angel can fly==--

Gordon Gilzean
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:26 pm
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

Thanks for those details I'll definitely look onto those books, that was something I've heard, the course is aimed more to yachts and powerboats, another reason why I felt it may be unnecessary for what I'll do with it

PlymouthDamo
Posts: 363
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:31 pm
Has thanked: 22 times
Been thanked: 46 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by PlymouthDamo »

It looks like I've got it wrong about any prohibition on giving out the deceased's name. The VHF course I did was with my diving club and the need to avoid naming a casualty was emphasised strongly on the basis that anybody with a VHF radio can hear you so there's a risk that the next-of-kin get notified via the jungle-drums rather than by a police officer. However, I can't find any reference to this online either so it looks like this was just common-sense advice from the instructor rather than something actually stipulated in black and white. I was certainly feeling very paranoid about this until I knew the next-of-kin hadn't found out about it through the grapevine.

andynormancx
Posts: 178
Joined: Fri Mar 18, 2016 12:58 pm
Has thanked: 42 times
Been thanked: 11 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by andynormancx »

The course is run by the RYA, but I wouldn't say it was aimed at yachts and powerboats.

It is aimed at:

- how to effectively use a two way radio (I wonder how many people who just buy a radio know how to use their squelch control)
- how to communicate effectively (it is surprising how much you learn using real radios, conveying/taking down important details to real people)
- what the content of an effective mayday message should be
- how to relay someone else's mayday message

There certainly is some stuff that isn't very relevant to kayakers, but I'd say 80% if it is very relevant.

I'm sure the quality of the delivery of the course does vary alot though.

mcgruff
Posts: 127
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:06 am
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 36 times
Been thanked: 25 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by mcgruff »

If you do adventure sports I think you have a responsibility to manage the risks - both to yourself and to others. Good skills, good decision-making, good equipment - and know how to use it.

I'm not going to comment on the course because I haven't done it myself but - however you do it - I think you should definitely get to a level where you've learned everything you need to know so well you don't need printed cards. (And do regular refresher sessions so you don't start to forget anything).

pathbrae
Posts: 431
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:42 pm
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 37 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by pathbrae »

Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 2:38 pm
I just had a good read of that ofcom link provided by Richard and it reads well, it's looking like I don't need any additional certificates to use a vhf within 12 nautical miles of low tide so this should be plenty coverage for my uses, if I'm wrong please correct me but it does look like that
I think you are confusing the radio license and your operators certificate.

The short range certificate is the requirement for you using a marine band hand-held radio and the short range course, certified by the RYA, is the requirement if you are going to use your VHF for anything other than emergency use or for listening in to weather forecasts etc.

The Radio itself must be registered (licensed) by ofcom, which is free.
Once you get beyond the 12 mile limit you must have a ship radio license, not a ship portable license, for the set (unlikely scenario in a sea kayak...) but that doesn't mean that you don't need to license your VHF inside the 12 mile limit.

From Icom, detailing the changes made in 2006 but also helping to untangle the radio licence and the operator certificate
OFCOM (The UK Office of Communications) have decided that from 1st October 2006, marine radio ship licences will be available free of charge, and will remain valid all the time the licence details remain unchanged.

OFCOM conducted a public consultation in early 2005 on the reform of ships' radio licensing. All ships' radios require a licence, including VHF, HF, EPIRBS, etc. The current licensing regime includes a fee and annual renewal. OFCOM believes this regime contributes significantly to the estimated 20% of vessels having an unlicensed marine radio.
The consultation response overwhelmingly endorsed altering the current regime. As a result, a new regime will be put in place on October 1. This includes:
• 'Lifetime' ships' radio licences and ships' portable radio licences will be issued free of charge. These will be valid for as long as the licence details remain correct or until the licence is either revoked by Ofcom or surrendered by the licensee.
• The new licences will be of an electronic form (probably PDF documents) and will be issued to users of a new online self-service licensing service. Licensees would then need to print a hard copy of the licence, which must be kept on board the vessel, although the requirement to permanently display a licence disc is removed from 30 September 2006.
• Paper licences will remain available, but these will be subject to an administrative charge.
• Note that there are no changes to the existing requirement for radio operators to hold the relevant marine radio operator's certificate. Operating marine radio without both ships' and operator's licences will remain an offence for which the maximum penalty on conviction is a £5,000 fine and/or six months imprisonment
So much sea - so little time to see it.

Gordon Gilzean
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2019 1:26 pm
Has thanked: 43 times
Been thanked: 5 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

I know I still need a license I just mean it reads like I do not really need a certificate as in the course to use it, I understand aswell that having a card at hand isn't the best way of doing things but we all need to learn somewhere and if having a protocol card allows me to have an understandable conversion with the coast guard untill I have the experience to not need the cards I think it would be handy as it wouldn't take up much space and the coast guard would definitely appreciate it, even doing the course wouldn't make me remember everything I need to know, it would teach me things but only through use and practice would I retain that info and be more self sufficient, some of the people I know who have done the course aren't as knowledgeable as guys that have been using them for 10+ years and have never done the course, I'm more of a hands on learn as I go type of person than worrying about classrooms, not to disrespect people but sometimes I feel certificates unless a legal obligation are a bit of a showing off tool, a bit like the star level of paddlers, I know 3 star paddlers who have less boat control and wouldn't go out in conditions I'd be running towards the sea for to go play but to them they're star level would have them believe they are more experienced than myself or others that have never done any assessments, sometimes I feel there's more than one way to do something and if I could just go get a vhf and have some conversation and practise with guys who use them regularly I'd find out what I really need to know

G7AFM
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:44 pm
Location: Herefordshire
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by G7AFM »

Take a look here
https://sailtrain.org.uk/rya-vhf-radio-course-online/
they also have this
https://www.rya.org.uk/SiteCollectionDo ... html5.html

just another way to screw money out of people.it,s all more common sense than anything.

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8093
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:44 pm
I know I still need a license I just mean it reads like I do not really need a certificate as in the course to use it, - - -
Pathbrae and others have outlined what's what. However, as is usually noted everytime this discussion comes up, there are many people who have a set, use it, and don't hold a licence. They are breaking the law, but that may - or may not - concern them.

The RYA VHF Handbook is a great resource. There are numerous protocols available as you've found. I wrote one, and it's available in the VHF section of the Almanac here.
Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:44 pm
I feel certificates unless a legal obligation are a bit of a showing off tool
It is a legal obligation to hold the Short Range Certificate if you want to use your VHF for anything other than monitoring transmissions (like MSI) or use in an emergency, or use under the supervision of a suitably licenced user. To get that licence, you have to pass the assessment and you have to have undertaken either an on-line VHF radio course, or a classroom based course if you want to do the assessment.


You also need to register the set - that's free, no test required. It's also a legal requirement.

robhorton
Posts: 70
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 12:10 pm
Been thanked: 2 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by robhorton »

As others have mentioned the SRC (or equivalent) is a legal requirement for non emergency transmissions although it's highly unlikely you'd ever get pulled up for not having one.

That said I found the course useful, mainly because you get a chance to play around with some test radios. The certificate is also a prerequisite for the BC leadership awards (old 4/5*) if that is relevant to you.

Re mayday protocols etc - the point is to get the relevant information transmitted as concisely as possibly, you will still get a response if you don't get it quite right.

G7AFM
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:44 pm
Location: Herefordshire
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by G7AFM »

MikeB wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 1:47 pm
Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:44 pm
I know I still need a license I just mean it reads like I do not really need a certificate as in the course to use it, - - -
Pathbrae and others have outlined what's what. However, as is usually noted everytime this discussion comes up, there are many people who have a set, use it, and don't hold a licence. They are breaking the law, but that may - or may not - concern them.

The RYA VHF Handbook is a great resource. There are numerous protocols available as you've found. I wrote one, and it's available in the VHF section of the Almanac here.
Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Sun Jan 26, 2020 11:44 pm
I feel certificates unless a legal obligation are a bit of a showing off tool
It is a legal obligation to hold the Short Range Certificate if you want to use your VHF for anything other than monitoring transmissions (like MSI) or use in an emergency, or use under the supervision of a suitably licenced user. To get that licence, you have to pass the assessment and you have to have undertaken either an on-line VHF radio course, or a classroom based course if you want to do the assessment.


You also need to register the set - that's free, no test required. It's also a legal requirement.

you only need to register the set if it is DSC capable & you need to register individualy any other DSC radios you have as they transmit different id info.

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8093
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

G7AFM wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:28 pm

you only need to register the set if it is DSC capable
Incorrect, sorry.

G7AFM
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:44 pm
Location: Herefordshire
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by G7AFM »

MikeB wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:06 pm
G7AFM wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 3:28 pm

you only need to register the set if it is DSC capable
Incorrect, sorry.
you need to register & have separate licences for each DSC radio you have.

from ofcom

Do I need a special licence? Will my existing Ship Radio Licence cover it? Must I vary my existing licence?
You must have a separate Ship Portable Radio Licence for each hand held VHF DSC radio. This is because each individual radio is given a separate identity. The apparatus must not be used outwith UK territorial sea. So, it cannot be covered by a normal Ship Radio Licence, as this does not impose any territorial restrictions. If you already have a Ship Portable Radio Licence, you should ensure that it includes hand held VHF DSC. If it does not, you can change it online, free of charge.

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8093
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

G7AFM wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:11 pm

you need to register & have separate licences for each DSC radio you have.
Correct. But not just for DSC.

You have to have a licence for ALL such equipment.

From Ofcom: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-li ... ng-service - specifically, under the heading Ships Radio Licences, and then Ship Radio Guidance Notes for Licensing (PDF, 426.0 KB). For convenience, that PDF is at https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/ ... ensing.pdf

Then refer to 1.8 - specifically "For licensing purposes, a portable maritime radio is taken as being a hand-held portable VHF or VHF/DSC radiotelephone with an integral antenna and power supply and which is not designed to be permanently installed on a ship and which may therefore be used on a number of different ships."

I would agree were it argued that the webpages are a little opaque, and until one has researched this a bit it's sometimes unclear.

G7AFM
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:44 pm
Location: Herefordshire
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by G7AFM »

MikeB wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:22 pm
G7AFM wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:11 pm

you need to register & have separate licences for each DSC radio you have.
Correct. But not just for DSC.

You have to have a licence for ALL such equipment.

From Ofcom: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/manage-your-li ... ng-service - specifically, under the heading Ships Radio Licences, and then Ship Radio Guidance Notes for Licensing (PDF, 426.0 KB). For convenience, that PDF is at https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/ ... ensing.pdf

Then refer to 1.8 - specifically "For licensing purposes, a portable maritime radio is taken as being a hand-held portable VHF or VHF/DSC radiotelephone with an integral antenna and power supply and which is not designed to be permanently installed on a ship and which may therefore be used on a number of different ships."

I would agree were it argued that the webpages are a little opaque, and until one has researched this a bit it's sometimes unclear.
Yes i agree in part Mike as needing a licence for any radio equipment (except pmr) but my point is you need a separate licence/registration for each DSC device,
as you only need 1 licence & no need to register any non DSC kit you have.

it,s just that your initial statement regarding registration makes it sound that you needed to register whatever radio you intend to use, does get rather confusing for those just starting out.

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8093
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

We're going in circles my friend. Are you saying that if the set doesn't have DSC then it doesn't need a licence?
G7AFM wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:38 pm
it,s just that your initial statement regarding registration makes it sound that you needed to register whatever radio you intend to use, does get rather confusing for those just starting out.
You need to register (obtain a licence for) the set. It doesn't matter what type of radio it is. It needs to be licenced.

G7AFM
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:44 pm
Location: Herefordshire
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by G7AFM »

MikeB wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:58 pm
We're going in circles my friend. Are you saying that if the set doesn't have DSC then it doesn't need a licence?
G7AFM wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 4:38 pm
it,s just that your initial statement regarding registration makes it sound that you needed to register whatever radio you intend to use, does get rather confusing for those just starting out.
You need to register (obtain a licence for) the set. It doesn't matter what type of radio it is. It needs to be licenced.
No you need a license full stop it,s just DSC enabled radio,s requires a little extra as they transmit certain info to verify details.

User avatar
MikeB
Posts: 8093
Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2003 9:44 pm
Location: Scotland
Has thanked: 11 times
Been thanked: 18 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

What can I say? Earlier you said it was only DSC radios that required a licence. Are you now saying a DSC handheld requires some sort of "special" licence?

pathbrae
Posts: 431
Joined: Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:42 pm
Has thanked: 9 times
Been thanked: 37 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by pathbrae »

Interesting point being raised from the above.
I have two VHF hand-helds, one DSC one non-DSC but I've only registered the DSC set. If I had bought the non DSC set first, I would have applied for a licence for it (why not, it's free...) then, when I bought the DSC set I would also have registered it to get an MMSI number for it. However, having done it the other way round, buying a DSC set first for solo paddling etc. then buying a non-DSC set for longer battery life when out for a few days.... I didn't consider a license for the "new" set.
So much sea - so little time to see it.

G7AFM
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:44 pm
Location: Herefordshire
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by G7AFM »

Sorry Bud not wishing to be rude but you need to read things correctly even when in print from ofcom.

(1) SRC is a requirement to obtain your license
(2) You need a license for ANY radio capable of transmitting RF (except PMR)
(3) Non DSC radio,s you can have as many as you like on 1 license
(4)You must have a separate Ship Portable Radio Licence for each hand held VHF DSC radio. This is because each individual radio is given a separate identity.
if you sell your DSC capable radio you need to surrender the license relevant to that radio so the MMSI can be allocated to the new owner.

Hope that makes it clearer.

G7AFM
Posts: 143
Joined: Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:44 pm
Location: Herefordshire
Been thanked: 8 times

Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by G7AFM »

pathbrae wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 6:54 pm
Interesting point being raised from the above.
I have two VHF hand-helds, one DSC one non-DSC but I've only registered the DSC set. If I had bought the non DSC set first, I would have applied for a licence for it (why not, it's free...) then, when I bought the DSC set I would also have registered it to get an MMSI number for it. However, having done it the other way round, buying a DSC set first for solo paddling etc. then buying a non-DSC set for longer battery life when out for a few days.... I didn't consider a license for the "new" set.
Don,t think the way you have done it is a problem you have a licence & the non DSC does not transmit any info prior to you talking.

Post Reply