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VHF Radio for boaters.
Next 6 August; 24 September Sheffield; 09-17.00; course cost £75*. Call 07771652123.

 Obtain your VHF (DSC)* radio operators license through the one day, fun and informative, course and exam in Sheffield.

If they are to use the VHF Radio > Yachtsmen, Kayakers, Cruisers, Rig Support Staff, Sea Going Fishermen, and Lock Keepers require, the VHF Radio license by law, > but just as important the training to use the equipment correctly.
European charter companies require that a member of a bareboat hire crew holds the license. Boats greater than 300 ton or vessels carrying more than twelve passengers must have both fixed and hand held VHF radio and appropriate license.


Both owners and also occasional boaters need to be able to use the VHF radio for general communication but especially for issues of safety. The modern VHF DSC* system is invaluable.

Q What radio channels are important when I cross the English Channel to the Channel Islands?
Why is it important that I can communicate both quickly and according to the international rules for VHF at sea?
The English Channel is very busy with commercial shipping plying the traffic separation zones, the Westward lane to the North supplying goods to the world and the Eastward lane to the South servicing the heart of Europe. Ships and crew from all over the world, moving at around 25 knots which from initially visible to your position gives you around 20 minutes in good visibility to evaluate the situation and act accordingly. How does the radio fit in and what other kit might be useful?

  In this case I would plan to duel watch both the initial contact and emergency channel 16, and in addition channel 13 which is designated for bridge to bridge communication for matters of navigational safety.
Perhaps to give or receive advice that Radar or AIS indicated that on present course and speed we would pass uncomfortably close.
Perhaps to confirm I intended to change course to keep clear. Correct formality through the use of pro-words, and phonetics would be helpful since the ships radio was possibly monitored by a Chinese operator, very proficient but using a foreign tongue.
An active or passive AIS system would be very useful on board. This VHF radio frequency automatic communication device can locate and pinpoint course, distance and closest contact of all user vessels within VHF range. But check the closest point of contact since their image on the screen can be disconcertingly large.  
Q How would I advise the growing number of adventurous sea kayakers perhaps planning a backpacking trip around Mull, or Sky.
Very remote, very important to be able to communicate with fellow adventurers, safety services, and inshore weather forecasts.
Smart phones are brilliant but anticipate variable reception.
  Get a handheld with DSC. In an emergency all stations within VHF range and especially coastal rescue stations are alerted rapidly and by a 5s push of the Distress button. Then allowing the boater to get on with self or colleague preservation. Access to regular coast station weather forecasts will compliment visual observation to pre-empt exposure to difficult sea or visibility conditions. Unlike the smart-phone, brilliant as it is for contact and even as a plotter, many remote places, have poor reception and anyway you are only able to contact a single recipient. VHF by contrast using channel 16 is received by all stations within range simultaneously and who may be in a position to assist in difficulty. Time is past now when handheld radios with DSC were as large as a brick, and they float!
   

 

Look out the U-TUBE video ‘Mayday, We are Sinking!’ >> ‘What are you thinking about?’.
Or locate and watch the 60’s ‘Hancock’s Half Hour sketch ‘The Radio Operator’. >> ‘Mayday? Mayday? That was weeks ago!’

Objective: The ‘Maritime radio operator’s ‘short range radio’ certificate of competence’ is a requisite part of the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster scheme, and is legal requirement to use a radio at sea.
The course is beneficial to familiarise you with use of VHF-DSC radio operation for both normal and distress situations. In addition the course outlines the features of the GMDSS (global maritime distress and safety system).

Course content: Hands on practical use of DSC radios in various circumstance of normal use, connection via digital calling, and emergency call use. Correct methods, range, correct channels, finding numbers, rules and regulations, licenses. GMDS safety systems, MAYDAY alerts, PANPAN, and Urgency alerts.

* VHF DSC > Very High Frequency, Digital Selective Calling.
 

Use contact above to e-mail; alternatively message or call 07771652123 for full details of course schedule, content, cost, and to reserve a place.
In short: typically last Sunday monthly course cost £75 plus £60 examiner and license fee. Click 'Contact' above or call 07771652123.