Sail North         VHF Radio License (DSC) - All Course details (issue June 24)


Objective: The Maritime radio operator’s ‘short range radio license’ is a legal requirement for the use a radio in the marine environment and is a requisite part of the RYA/MCA Yachtmaster scheme. The objective of the course is to train and familiarise you with use of VHF-DSC radio operation for both normal and emergency situations, and to qualify you for the license.


Note: We train using real radios rather than simulators. We work with small class numbers to ensure focus.
The assessment will follow the course, hence both will be completed during the day.


Course procedure:

  1. Apply to SailNorth (with deposit and advise your address) to receive the course book RYA/G31.
    (Alternatively an e-book version is available if you prefer).
  2. Complete a minimum 2-3 hours pre-course book study. Based around a study list (see below)**.
  3. Participate in the approx. 8 hour classroom training course.
  4. Complete an approx.  ½ hour written and practical examination. The examination is organized sequential to item 3, using an independent examiner and the kit you have practiced on.
  5. SailNorth forwards your Application to the RYA for issue to you of the VHF Radio License.   


Cost:  The cost for the one day course is £80. This includes the training; the RYA G31 VHF radio book (or e-book alternative)*; tea and coffee, not lunch (bring a sandwich or café next door).
The course does not include the Examiner fee £35, and the license fee £35, which may be paid to SailNorth or to the RYA direct, hence the total cost is £150.00.
*The course book, or the equivalent e-book, must be included as part of the course fee since this is supplied along with the ‘course passed report form’ and to ensure compliance with item 2 above.


How to pay: £30 deposit to SailNorth in advance. On confirmation of deposit, with address, the course book* G31 will be posted by return. Balance in advance or on course day.
Cash, cheque, or bank transfer to Sail North Ltd,
Post to W. Clay 33 Montgomery Rd, Sheffield, S7 1LN, or
Bank transfer to SailNorth Ltd, Lloyds Bank sort code:  30-97-51, account no: 04258430.


The £60 exam/license fee may (more conveniently) be paid along with the course fee to SailNorth, or alternatively direct to the RYA. If you wish to pay the exam/license fee direct to the RYA then follow this RYA link:

However you pay you must bring along a passport size photo.


Contact: e-mail, or call Bill Clay on 07771652123.


Dates: Course dates are organised on Sundays or Saturdays according to demand. Typically a course is run every last Sunday during the winter months, and occasional summer months. You will be kept updated by e-mail. The licence will take up to three weeks to return from the RYA. A temporary license can be issued on the course day for use in last minute situations.


Booking: Bookings accepted by phone or e-mail. Please advise both your phone number and e-mail address to enable cancellation events to be confirmed. We have never to date cancelled a course however very occasionally a participant has been unable to attend. Should you not be able to attend we will refund or arrange subsequent course. There may be a reserve standing by so please give a few days notice.


Preparation: On receipt of deposit you will be sent the G31* booklet and should follow the preparation list, detailed below. Alternatively if last minute you will be sent a pre-read document which includes ten questions to be completed and mailed back.


Joining Instructions: Course starts 09.00 prompt and together with the written and practical assessment will enable completion before 18.00. You will be assessed on the kit on which you have trained.
Tea, coffee as we train, and lunch break (30 minutes).
Sandwiches can be purchased from the COOP shop and there is a café next door.

What to bring:  G31 booklet sent to you, pencil and paper.


How to get there: The venue is the >  HEATHERFIELD CONSERVATIVE CLUB,    S17 4 DT
Totley Rise, Abbeydale Road South, Sheffield >  
Follow Abbeydale Road (A627) - past Millhouses park - past Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet - past the Abbeydale Sports Club - Onto the uphill duel carriageway - Through the lights - in 300m some shops on right - immediately some shops on left (COOP MINIMARKET) as the carriageway bends left - The club is immediately there on the left. You have gone 50m too far if the road becomes a single carriageway. There are three or four parking spaces on the left on the main road, and the road is safe free parking. Above the club door is ‘THE HEATHERFIELD’.


After the course: The exam pass certificate is completed with your personal details and photo. This is then sent by me to the RYA who will return your VHF license direct to you.


Course content:

Hands on practical use of VHF 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, Urgency alerts, finally the test.


**Preparation, minimum 2-3 hours, using the course book, G31 VHF Handbook by Tim Bartlett:


Feedback: Feedback is appreciated, additionally if you have any issue contact:

RYA House on 023 8060 4100. Alternatively RYA House, Ensign Way, Hamble, Hants, SO31 4YA

In addition after the course I will forward a course feedback form for you to use if you wish.


Bill Clay

Sail North

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