South Yorkshire   


Sail North  VHF Radio License (DSC) - All Course details (issue Nov  23)         


Use back button


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. 


Notes: - 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, advise your address and be sent the prep notes. The course book RYA/ provided on the day. 

2.     Complete a minimum 2-3 hours pre-course book study. Based around the prep notes and Google enquiries. 

3.     Participate in the 8 hour, approx., classroom training course. 

4.     Complete the ½ hour written and practical test. The test 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 who then issue the VHF Radio License to you.     


Cost:  The cost for the one day course is £80. This includes the training; the RYA G31 VHF radio booklet, 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, hence the total cost is £150.00.

The course book must be included as part of the course package 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 prep notes will be emailed to you. Balance in advance or on course day. 

Bank transfer to Sail North Ltd, cheque or cash 

Bank transfer to SailNorth Ltd, Lloyds Bank sort code:  30-97-51,  account no: 04258430. Or Post to W. Clay 33 Montgomery Rd, Sheffield, S7 1LN. 


The £70 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 generally Sundays or 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 around four 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 prep notes or G31* booklet and should follow the preparation list, detailed below.   

What to bring:  G31 booklet (IF) sent to you, pencil and paper. Printed application form will be sent as a final reminder the week before and which has venue directions. You should bring a passport sized photo. 



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’.  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 prep notes. G31 VHF Handbook by Tim Bartlett supplied on the day:  


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