Is vhf course needed

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MikeB
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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

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.
Ohhh - tut! Arguably you should have licences for both sets! And you a sailor too!!

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

G7AFM wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 7:12 pm
Sorry Bud not wishing to be rude but you need to read things correctly even when in print from ofcom.
But you aren't. Not wishing to be rude Bud. Thus far, much of what you've asserted is factually incorrect.
(1) SRC is a requirement to obtain your license
Really? Where does it mention this? That would be in the PDF I referenced earlier. For clarity, see 6.1: To meet our international obligations, both types of UK ship radio licences stipulate that maritime radio apparatus may be operated only by (or under the direct supervision of) a person who holds an appropriate Certificate of Competence and Authority to Operate, granted by the Secretary of State. In this case, that means the MCA. A person need not hold a Certificate of Competence in order to obtain a licence.
(2) You need a license for ANY radio capable of transmitting RF (except PMR)
Correct.
(3) Non DSC radio,s you can have as many as you like on 1 license
I think that's a discussion point. Perhaps you can direct us to your source.

I note this:
"2.2 If authorised under a Ship Radio Licence (as opposed to a Ship Portable Radio Licence) it is important that any VHF DSC portable radios are used only on the ship covered by the Licence and that they are not moved from one ship to another.
2.3 Under a Ship Radio Licence (as opposed to a Ship Portable Radio Licence), any number of declared VHF and UHF hand-helds may be used on the ship identified in the licence."

Now, Pathbrae is a sailor so may well have a Ship Radio Licence. We, as kayakers, don't.
(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.
Correct.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by G7AFM »

Ok not strictly correct on needing src to get the licence but i think it is still a requirement to operate.
As DSC are the only ones you need to register you can have a shed full of standard radios on just one license.

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Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

It is a requirement to operate. It is not a requirement to obtain an Ofcom licence. There’s nothing ambiguous about it, let alone ‘strictly correct’.

Re your second point - can you direct us to your specific reference source, please?

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

I hope I've not stirred up to much controversy here, I was just looking to find out the legal obligations of having a vhf, I'd actually be quite happy to just have it for emergency use tbh as my main concern is for solo paddling, if it's illegal to use for other means I'll just let the others make those vhf calls when I'm with them, maybe in time I will do the course but I was really just wanting to know that I won't get jailed or fined for deciding to save my own or someone's life

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by pathbrae »

Getting back to the original question here....

Register the set with Ofcom - it's free, do it online, wait about a year or so and they will add you to their database. (They don't seem to work very quickly...)

Pick up a copy of the RYA Short Range Radio course book (or look up online)
https://www.rya.org.uk/shop/pages/produ ... rine-radio is about £8 is probably all you need to know to keep you out of trouble.

https://www.rya.org.uk/shop/pages/produ ... f-handbook is a bit more comprehensive and cost £16, probably worth getting before you go on a course.

Yes you do need to sit a course and pick up a certificate to legaly use a VHF - However, no-one, as far as I know, has ever been challenged about whether or not they hold an operators certificate unless they are being really stupid and are blocking a channel, chatting to their mates on 16 or are broadcasting music (happens more often that you'd think...)


Jus as an extra. Up 'till recently, anyone who had a VHF was required to listen on 16 when on passage. That requirement has been dropped with DSC calling now being the prefered method of indicating distress.
The implication for us, as kayakers, is that we can no longer rely on an aproaching vessel listening in on 16 if we think they might be on a closing bearing with us as a group and hail them on VHF to warn them of our presence - which is concerning!

From the RNLI
A VHF radio will enable you to summon help by calling the Coastguard and alerting other vessels. Up until recently this was done with a mayday call on Ch16. However, the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) has changed. There is no longer a legal requirement for any ship or coast station to maintain a manual watch on Ch16. The UK Coastguard and Irish Coast Guard have ceased a dedicated Ch16 headset watch and now monitor this via a wall-mounted loudspeaker. Please check with other countries if going abroad.

Instead, commercial ships and the Coastguard now monitor a special digital channel with DSC radios. To transmit a distress message on this channel you will need a DSC radio.
This seems fairly up to date, from the RNLI and might be all you need.....
http://completeguide.rnli.org/vhf-radios.html
So much sea - so little time to see it.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

Thank you for the links I will definitely do plenty of reading up on all of this before I go out and buy one, even without the course I can be responsible if the need to use it should arise, it's the standard horizon 300e I'm thinking about when the time comes as it seems to tick all the boxes for what my needs would be, that is a bit concerning that ships may not be listening to ch16, I'll probably always have mine listening in just incase there is something worth knowing about

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:17 pm
I hope I've not stirred up to much controversy here, I was just looking to find out the legal obligations of having a vhf, I'd actually be quite happy to just have it for emergency use tbh as my main concern is for solo paddling, if it's illegal to use for other means I'll just let the others make those vhf calls when I'm with them, maybe in time I will do the course but I was really just wanting to know that I won't get jailed or fined for deciding to save my own or someone's life
As pathbrae says - you'll be fine.

On a slightly related note - I'd suggest using the radio regularly, if only to note a passage plan with CG and indeed for inter-group comms. The folk I paddle with do this, and we generally use one of the channels dedicated for this sort of thing (something you learn on the course - but try Ch8) and also maintain a dual watch on 16. If we're on one of the major estuarys like the Forth we'll monitor the relevant dedicated channel as well. This breeds familiarity with the set - so when you're using it "for real" in an emergency you don't have to think about the mechanics of it.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by G7AFM »

MikeB wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:01 pm
It is a requirement to operate. It is not a requirement to obtain an Ofcom licence. There’s nothing ambiguous about it, let alone ‘strictly correct’.

Re your second point - can you direct us to your specific reference source, please?
Really Mike as the licencee you can hold as many radio,s as you like which you well know,
At the end of the day you can only use one at a time (theorertically) :-)

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by grizzly7 »

Despite handbags at dawn this is interesting. Thank all for the input.

On my course a few months ago we were told 16 was always monitored, and of course some radios monitor 16 and another.

Maybe there could be a small sticky in this area for little updates like this? One thread here says DSC is a big cause of false alarms so kind of suggests should be discouraged. If 16 isn't monitored any more (although how would all those old hands know not to?!) DSC becomes more important?

Our examiner hurrumphed at the fact you aren't supposed to chat since that's all the radio was for in his day.

Unrelated, but I recently found a naval surplus company selling radio room clocks from dismantled ships with red sections marked out on the face, a period of radio silence twice an hour for everyone at sea to just listen, resulting from the Titanic it seems https://www.qsl.net/wb1gfh/chelsea.html

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

No "handbags at dawn" - just well meaning but inaccurate comment.

The LEGAL REQUIREMENT to monitor 16 is all that's been removed. But you'll find that 16 is still monitored, as in the VHF will be on 16. And is used frequently. Example being on the Forth last year when we picked up a Mayday relay on 16 from CG asking for support from anyone in the vicinity of the road bridge.

We're not really big on stickies - largely as we'd end up with a mass of them. But you're right - one of the key strengths of a forum like this is to act as a searchable repository of useful (and occasionally accurate) info. Something the rise of social media / Faceberk doesnt do very well.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by seawolf856 »

Just to add to this very interesting discussion, we all seem to agree that carrying and using a VHF in a sea kayak is an important safety consideration. Every sea kayaker I know carries one but very few have the SRC, so here's a question -
If I turn up for my Sea Kayak Leaders assessment without a VHF, and I tell the assessor it is because I don't have the SRC and I don't want to break the law, will I fail?

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

From the course notes:

D.2 Safety (includes Coastguard and rescue services)
Paddlers must be able to operate a marine band VHF transceiver and show good operating procedures for radio traffic. UK residents must understand the VHF radio licencing requirements.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by seawolf856 »

MikeB wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 5:34 pm
From the course notes:

D.2 Safety (includes Coastguard and rescue services)
Paddlers must be able to operate a marine band VHF transceiver and show good operating procedures for radio traffic. UK residents must understand the VHF radio licencing requirements.
Thanks for sharing that mike. It’s interesting that you only have to “understand” the VHF radio licensing requirements and that’s amusing because we all understand that the licence is free anyway, but there’s no mention of the SRC or need for legal compliance.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by andynormancx »

SRC _is_ part of the licencing requirements.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

andynormancx wrote:
Fri Jan 31, 2020 8:43 am
SRC _is_ part of the licencing requirements.
Nope. From an Ofcom doc I linked to earlier.
"6.1: To meet our international obligations, both types of UK ship radio licences stipulate that maritime radio apparatus may be operated only by (or under the direct supervision of) a person who holds an appropriate Certificate of Competence and Authority to Operate, granted by the Secretary of State. In this case, that means the MCA. A person need not hold a Certificate of Competence in order to obtain a licence."
seawolf856 wrote:It’s interesting that you only have to “understand” the VHF radio licensing requirements and that’s amusing because we all understand that the licence is free anyway, but there’s no mention of the SRC or need for legal compliance.
Yes - its not especially well written. I rather suspect however that the definition of "licence" will be taken to include the legal requirement for SRC in order to transmit with the set, as noted in the quote above. Which of course everyone will be aware of. :-)

But I may well be wrong. No doubt someone who's done the thing recently would be able to tell us.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by nickcrowhurst »

For my non-dsc VHF sets I just took the test. I've never done the course. At that time the booklet listed all the questions that could be asked in the assessment.
Nick.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Chris Bolton »

It could be argued that to understand the licensing requirements is more difficult than obtaining the SRC - as this thread is demonstrating.

My interpretation is that the SRC is a licence in the meaning of the word, so licencing requirements include both the SRC for the operator (or person supervising) and the Ofcom licence for the transmitter.

Since a non-DSC Ship Portable licence doesn't contain any identity information about the transmitter, it covers use of any single such transmitter. How many you own is irrelevant provided you only use one at a time.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by robhorton »

seawolf856 wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:03 pm
Just to add to this very interesting discussion, we all seem to agree that carrying and using a VHF in a sea kayak is an important safety consideration. Every sea kayaker I know carries one but very few have the SRC, so here's a question -
If I turn up for my Sea Kayak Leaders assessment without a VHF, and I tell the assessor it is because I don't have the SRC and I don't want to break the law, will I fail?
The syllabus says:
VHF Radio Requirements
All candidates are required to carry a VHF radio. The provider will assess radio
protocol and that UK residents are aware of licencing requirements.
So I think it's likely you would fail if you turned up without a radio. It used to be a requirement to send a copy of the SRC with the LR form in order to register for assessment but that seems to have been removed now. I think it's unlikely an assessor would ask to see the SRC but I would check what their expectations are before booking.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

I have a pal who happens to be a trainer / assessor for SRC.

He told me this :

“For portable units you need a licence for each set you are using. If you
have 3 sets and only use one at a time you just need 1 licence.

Licences are free so you could get one for each set you have just in case
you have a reason to lend to someone for an event or passage.

If you have say a yacht your one for the yacht covers the portable providing
you are using the portable in the vicinity of the yacht; or many portables
if it is a cruise liner.

For portable DSC radios you need a licence and with it MMSI number for each
set.

The fine for transmitting without a personal licence is up to £5,000.00 and/or prison
for 6 months plus confiscation of the equipment! Exception is of course a
May Day.”

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by seawolf856 »

robhorton wrote:
Sun Feb 02, 2020 1:17 pm
seawolf856 wrote:
Thu Jan 30, 2020 4:03 pm
Just to add to this very interesting discussion, we all seem to agree that carrying and using a VHF in a sea kayak is an important safety consideration. Every sea kayaker I know carries one but very few have the SRC, so here's a question -
If I turn up for my Sea Kayak Leaders assessment without a VHF, and I tell the assessor it is because I don't have the SRC and I don't want to break the law, will I fail?
The syllabus says:
VHF Radio Requirements
All candidates are required to carry a VHF radio. The provider will assess radio
protocol and that UK residents are aware of licencing requirements.
So I think it's likely you would fail if you turned up without a radio. It used to be a requirement to send a copy of the SRC with the LR form in order to register for assessment but that seems to have been removed now. I think it's unlikely an assessor would ask to see the SRC but I would check what their expectations are before booking.
You are right Rob, the SRC is not obligatory on the BC sea kayak leaders personal profile qualifications page. You need a first aid cert, a costal navigation cert and a qualified coach needs to sign off your training BUT there is no mention of a VHF cert.
To me, that says as long as you can use your VHF to a (subjective) standard and you are “aware of the licensing requirements” then the actual SRC is simply surplus to requirements.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by jeremyduncombe14 »

Gordon Gilzean wrote: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
I see your point, but in a real emergency do you think you will be able to read the instructions on a card ? What if you are already in the water ? Even if you can read it, you are losing vital time. The standard mayday protocol ensures that you will give the coastguard all the essential information they need, in the order they expect to hear it. That can save vital minutes in getting help on the way to you.

I occasionally sail yachts as well as regularly paddling kayaks. The general standard of vhf radio use is depressingly poor, even among experienced sailors. Don’t assume that others know the correct protocol - take the course and you can be confident that you can handle an emergency.

Every time I go out solo paddling, I mentally rehearse a mayday call before I leave the shore. I don’t expect to get into trouble, but it gives me confidence that I can use the radio correctly in an emergency - one less thing to worry about.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by ike »

jeremyduncombe14 wrote:[Every time I go out solo paddling, I mentally rehearse a mayday call before I leave the shore. I don’t expect to get into trouble, but it gives me confidence that I can use the radio correctly in an emergency - one less thing to worry about.
That’s an excellent idea Jeremy, I’ll be borrowing that from here on.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

That is a really good idea to mentally prepare for a mayday call, I suppose in the heat of the moment you never really know how your going to react, I am normally pretty calm in most situations but that been said and thankfully I've not had to save someone else or my own life in a real situation, my thought was just to have the protocol card n a clear vhf holder which I'd have in my buoyancy aid, mainly as a reference if I did forget what to say, as you say though nothing beats preparation and practise, I know when I do get a vhf I will definitely pick up some reading material to go along with it and I'd like to think if the time arises that I need to use it in a real situation I would have practiced plenty times to be calm and confident in using it

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by MikeB »

jeremyduncombe14 wrote:
Wed Feb 05, 2020 8:12 pm
I occasionally sail yachts as well as regularly paddling kayaks. The general standard of vhf radio use is depressingly poor, even among experienced sailors. Don’t assume that others know the correct protocol - take the course and you can be confident that you can handle an emergency.
Absolutely. And when you're "legal" you'll be far more inclined to use the set for group comms, checking in with CG etc, all this helping ingrain what has to be done when it's all gone pear-shaped.

On a slightly related note, I know of a SRC being run at Lochgoilhead on 29 February. If anyone wants the details then PM me and I'll forward.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Arthur »

Gordon - why the resistance to doing an operator's course?

I come from sailing small boats and wouldn't dream of taking to the sea without being fully compliant with the law and fully conversant with the use of a VHF. Sorry, but taking a half-hearted approach to any aspect of safety doesn't bode well for a life at sea. The idea that you can refer to your little checklist when you're in difficulty, is misguided. If you do an operator's course you won't need to worry about the protocols, or 'what to say', when using your radio - you'll have the confidence of being both competent and within the law.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

I don't have a resistance to doing the course as such, I just have always been the kind of person who learns through practice and experience, I take more in when I study for myself than a classroom environment so if it was possible /legal to educate myself on the correct protocol to use which I have done and can look up to refresh myself with whenever I feel the need I don't know if the course will teach me anything I can't find out myself, I may have a piece of paper that says I've done the course but would I genuinely be better educated for it? That's what I question, without being big headed there's guys in my club that have the license and I feel more confident in vhf protocol and use than they do and I don't even own a vhf

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by andynormancx »

The course is probably over 50% practical, you spend a lot of time actually using a radio, practicing delivering and taking down radio calls. It isn't (or shouldn't be) the classroom experience you're imagining.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Arthur »

Gordon Gilzean wrote:
Thu May 28, 2020 12:37 pm
I don't have a resistance to doing the course as such, I just have always been the kind of person who learns through practice and experience, I take more in when I study for myself than a classroom environment so if it was possible /legal to educate myself on the correct protocol to use which I have done and can look up to refresh myself with whenever I feel the need I don't know if the course will teach me anything I can't find out myself, I may have a piece of paper that says I've done the course but would I genuinely be better educated for it? That's what I question, without being big headed there's guys in my club that have the license and I feel more confident in vhf protocol and use than they do and I don't even own a vhf
Gordon, your posts feel like they're full of resistance to the idea that other people might know better than you. You're asking for advice, but effectively ignoring it. The simple fact is, unless you get the licence you're not legal... and you ain't gonna get the licence by surfing the internet. Good luck. Over and out.

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Re: Is vhf course needed

Post by Gordon Gilzean »

Thank you that is reassuring to know as I definitely prefer practical experience, I am not resistant to that at all, in fact I would say without a doubt that most of everyone here will know better than me, I don't know why you think that of me? It is a bit of a controversial subject and its not only myself that questions whether or not the course is needed for their personal purpose, if all I want to do is have an extra form of communication for peace of mind on solo paddles I wouldn't need the course to do that, if I want to communicate with other paddlers then legally I have to do the course and have the relevant paperwork, I now know this from the answers on here and feel more educated to make a decision on whether or not the course is worth while to me, i can accept that the course will have benefits and in time it may be something I feel more wanting to do but for the purpose of a second call for help I'd be happy enough to buy a vhf and know that if the need to use it should arise I have it on me, just now all I carry is my mobile phone and flares, I respect everyones opinion and I am thankful for all advice offered

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