International pressure is forcing more and more countries to conform to the regulations for operation of marine radio sets, which should only be used under the supervision of someone with a legal marine radio operator’s licence.
Croatia has insisted for a few years that those who charter yachts must have a radio operator’s licence as well as a skipper’s certificate. Greece has not implemented this requirement yet but it could come.
Don’t miss out on your next charter through not having all the required paperwork.
Regardless of the law, if you are a really responsible skipper, you shouldn’t want to take a crew to sea without feeling confident you can use the on-board radio properly. I’m amazed by how poor some skippers knowledge is. Would YOU know exactly what to do to summon help in an emergency?
All charter boats must now be fitted with DSC (Digital Selective Calling) radio sets. They provide a higher level of safety, providing they are installed, connected, and used correctly, but I’ve come across several yachts where the radio isn’t connected to the GPS and where there are no instructions for activating a distress call.
Operating a DSC radio is slightly more complex than an old-fashioned VHF radio but there are many advantages when you know how to use them.
The RYA Marine Radio Operator’s course will teach you everything you need to know to operate a radio correctly. The course includes lots of information about GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress & Safety System), covering Navtex, EPIRBs and many other aspects as well as radio.
Learn the different types of radio call – Routine, Safety, Emergency, and Distress – which is appropriate for the circumstances and how to make them. The course includes the International Phonetic Alphabet and recognised Pro-Words.
The way the RYA Marine Radio Operator’s course is delivered changed as of 1 January 2014 to bring it more into line with courses in other countries.
Previously it was a one-day classroom course with the exam marked by the tutor. The syllabus has been extended and now the course, if taken in a classroom, has been extended to 10 hours. Alternatively, it’s possible to take the course online, then sit the exam.
Another change is that the exam must now be marked by an independent assessor – not the instructor who took the course.
We’re going to offer the course using the online materials but we’ll continue to give some ‘hands on’ training using specially adapted radio sets at the training centre to give you practice before taking the examination. We’ll also cover using the radio in Greece, looking at Greek MMSI numbers and how to contact Olympic Radio for instance.
If preferred we can still run the course completely classroom-based but this will now take one and a half days, including the exam, rather than one day. We think it will be better for most people to do the online course and then follow it with practice with an instructor.
You can download a demonstration of the new online course from the RYA website by clicking this link. There are downloads for both Windows and Mac.
We’ll be ready to start enrolling people by the end of this week. Why not book your online course through us and you can learn about the radio over the winter then take the examination at our test centre when sailing with us this summer.
We run radio course assessments on Saturdays, normally twice a month from April to October and on request during other months.