VHF/ SRC, GMDSS Radio Course – Online

It is a legal requirement and worthwhile to have a personal licence if you are going out on the water and have a VHF (Very High Frequency) radio. The Short Range Certificate (SRC) is the minimum qualification required by law to control the operation of VHF and VHF Digital Selective Calling (DSC) equipment on any British flagged vessel voluntarily fitted with a radio. This includes both fixed and hand held equipment using International channels.

On this online course you will be using, and talking about the latest in fixed and handheld VHF and DSC (Digital Selective Calling) radio units. You will learn about the correct channel usage, the correct Safety, Urgent and Distress procedures to use, and what is meant by GMDSS (Global Marine Distress and Safety System) and how it can help you out on the water.  Unnecessary transmissions could block out a Mayday distress call. The course will be taught and examined using radio simulators. The exam also includes a short written test. On completion of this course, you will be awarded your Licence.

The Short Range Certificate (SRC) is the operator’s licence required for Class D radios, the type fitted to most leisure craft. The SRC is not suitable for those working on larger commercial craft, when a more advanced qualification is demanded. The SRC is generally accepted internationally for operators on British flagged boats. To operate radios on foreign craft you should contact the appropriate national authority.

The RYA Online SRC/VHF Radio Course uses straight-forward language and descriptions, helping you to understand important legal concepts and maritime SRC/VHF regulations and how they affect you whilst out on the water.

A radio is a key piece of safety equipment on board and it is vital to understand the correct procedures. This RYA Online SRC/VHF Radio Course includes a wide variety of real-life situations – both routine and distress. The new and innovative radio simulator helps you feel comfortable with handling a radio in a real-life situation.

When you have completed your online course you eligible to attend SRC/VHF exam. Prior to siting your exam you will have the opportunity to practice with the radio equipment before commencing your exam.

The practical session and exam need to be held at an RYA training centre. Falmouth School of Sailing training centre is based in Falmouth, Cornwall and sessions are held on our dates below.


Course Content

  •  The basics of radio operation;
  • The correct frequencies (channels) to be used;
  • Distress, emergency and medical assistance procedures;
  • Making ship to shore telephone calls;
  • Digital Selective Calling (DSC) using simulators;
  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS);
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB);
  • Search and Rescue (SART).

As described above, the course is split into two distinctive separate sections:

Part 1 Complete the RYA SRC/VHF Radio operator course online – 6-8 hours.

Part 2 Complete practical radio operation and exam. This 1 hour session needs to legally take place at an RYA Recognised Training School and prepares you to take a short written SRC/VHF Exam. You can sit this exam at our training facility based in Falmouth, Cornwall or at any other RYA Registered Centre that may be closer to you. Exams can be arranged at a time to suit your diary at our training centre in Falmouth, Cornwall. There is an exam fee of £60 which is paid directly to the RYA.


Costs & Dates

Per Person



Up to 6 months


Try The Taster Course

Download The Taster Course:

Windows taster Download for Windows 

As you download the file choose Run. You may be asked again if your computer doesn’t recognise the download. If so, click Run again and the installation should start.

Download for Mac 10.7 or later from the App Store
App Store Download for iPads from the App Store


The online SRC course and taster have the following minimum technical requirements:

Internet connection (broadband or 3G). Charges may apply for 3G
1024 x 768 screen resolution – this must be available screen space (menu bars, docks or task bars may conceal part of the course window on smaller screens)
Microphone and speakers/headphones

Platform specific minimum requirements:

Intel processor OS X 10.7 (Lion) or above. S

Windows Vista Service Pack 2
1 GHz (x86) processor 512 MB RAM
Sound card.
Quicktime (for viewing videos) available here.

Netbooks are not supported due to the reduced screen resolution.

iPad/iPad Mini
iOS 6 or above. Older generation iPads may have performance issues.