VHF Marine Radio

The VHF Marine Radio course teaches emergency radio procedures and everyday operating techniques. Learn all about the uses of marine radios, choice of frequencies, operation, phonetic alphabet, procedural words and phrases, as well as Digital Selective Calling and the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, (DSC/GMDSS).

All mariners, including recreational boaters, will want to take advantage of the many features and capabilities of this innovative form “automatic” radio. Secure your lifeline. Be sure that you and your family take the Marine Radio course.

The License you require depends on the type of radios and operate and if you are commercial or recreational.

The Short Range Certificate is for DSC / VHF radios operating up to 40 miles from shore

The Long Range Certificate is for DSC / VHF / MW / LW for vessels operating offshore

The General Operators Certificate or ROC is for commercial vessels / officers

See information below.

Marine Radio SRC / VHF Course


A radio is a highly important piece of safety equipment on board, which is why it is vital to understand the correct usage procedures.  Unnecessary transmissions could block out a Mayday distress call.

The Marine Radio Short Range Certificate is a one-day course that caters for anyone who owns or operates a fixed/ hand held-marine VHF radio. Furthermore, this certificate is required by law if you operate a VHF radio fitted with Digital Selective Calling (DSC).

Course topics include:

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

The course is taught by using radio simulators and will be examined by a written test and practical assessment. All new VHF sets are either fitted, or can be interfaced with GPS to allow your position to be sent as part of a Distress Alert.

The Course consists of 3 parts

  • Pre Learning – we send you some vital information to learn before the course
  • Course – One full day covering all the topics mentioned above
  • Exams – On the same day you write the exams and we submit the papers on your behalf

This course is available in Cape Town and Simons Town

GMDSS Long Range Certificate (LRC) covers

  • Marine MF/HF (SSB) & VHF radio
  • Digital Selective Calling
  • Radio procedures – routine, urgency and distress communications
  • Maritime Safety Information Broadcasts
  • Maritime radio services
  • Radio propagation, antennas and wavelengths
  • Radio maintenance – daily, weekly and monthly checks
  • Radio regulations and legal requirements
  • Satellite communications – Inmarsat C & fleet 77

It is intended primarily for Sailors and Skippers who have a range of radios and Inmarsat systems. This would normally be vessels operating more than 40 miles off shore.

A candidate will be required to:

  • Demonstrate a practical knowledge of GMDSS sub-systems and equipment which is appropriate to vessels operating in Australian waters on which a radio installation is not compulsory under international agreements. Specifically, MF/HF and VHF radio telephony equipment with digital selective calling (DSC) facilities, and emergency position indicating radio beacons of the 406 MHz and 121.5/243 MHz type
  • Demonstrate an ability to use MF/HF and VHF radio telephony and digital selective calling (DSC) operating procedures, particularly those relating to distress, urgency and safety
  • Demonstrate an understanding of simple maintenance practices required to keep the marine radio equipment specified in (1) in good working order, including the repair of minor faults
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the regulations applicable to ship stations equipped with radio telephony and digital selective calling facilities
  • Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the Australian marine search and rescue system

This is a 5 day course held in Cape Town

GMDSS General Operators Certificate (GOC)

The GMDSS General Operators Certificate (GOC) is the highest level in radio communication. It is required for any personnel who have radio communication duties onboard vessels fitted with GMDSS equipment.

Course information:

The General Operators Certificate (GOC) course provides a mixture of theory and practical application as part of the GMDSS examinations.

The course covers three main areas:

  • General knowledge of Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and practical radio operations
  • Regulations and procedures for situations such as emergencies and distress
  • Practice and understanding of radio-telephone communications and equipment

Training towards:

Master (Code Vessels less than 200gt) Officer of the Watch (Yachts less then 500gt)

Officer of the Watch (Yachts less than 3000gt)

Pre-requisite experience:

Fluent in English and knowledge of the phonetic alphabet

Duration: 10 Days

Candidates require an understanding of:

  • The concepts underlying the Inmarsat satellite system, including location of satellites, global coverage, ocean regions, network coordination and control stations and land earth stations.
  • The worldwide rescue coordination centre (RCC) network and automatic routing of distress messages.

Candidates require a detailed knowledge of:

  • Transmission and reception of distress alerts.
  • The procedures to be used should a false distress alert be inadvertently transmitted.
  • Transmission and reception of priority alerts.
  • The Enhanced Group Calling system for reception of Maritime Safety Information.

Candidates require a knowledge of:

  • The functionality of Inmarsat type A, B, C, E and M equipment.
  • Antenna stabilisation and shadows.
  • The messaging facilities provided by Inmarsat C.
  • Logging-in and logging-out of Inmarsat C.
  • Two digit code safety services.
  • Interfacing with navigational equipment and manual position updating of Inmarsat C.
  • Authorised users of SafetyNET.
  • How to perform testing of equipment to ensure functionality of Inmarsat C equipment.
  • Radiation hazards associated with Inmarsat equipment installations.