This online course is aimed at anyone who owns or operates a fixed or handheld marine VHF radio. On successful completion of the online course, followed by a separate face-to-face assessment, candidates will receive the Short Range Certificate.

The Short Range Certificate is the minimum qualification required by law to control the operation of VHF and VHF Digital Selective Calling (DSC) equipment on any British flagged vessel voluntarily fitted with a radio.

Not only is it a legal requirement to have this qualification but more importantly, the VHF radio is a key piece of safety equipment. Therefore everyone that uses one must have an understanding of the correct procedures for both routine communications and emergency situations.

Before signing up for this online course, please try the free taster course on the RYA website to check the compatibility of your device.

None. This is an entry-level course and can be undertaken regardless of experience level. There is no age limit for the online training course but candidates for the exam must be aged 16 or over.

Please try the taster course on the RYA website to check the compatibility of your device.

Being an online course, you can work at your own pace. As a guide, the course will take around 6-8 hours to complete. From your initial login, you will have a maximum of 12 months to complete the course.

The course is split into seven sections, with questions and quizzes along the way to check understanding. This is followed by a pre-exam knowledge check, which must be passed prior to the face-to-face exam.

The face-to-face exam takes approximately 1.5 hours (see Assessment).

Being an online course, you can complete the course from anywhere, using a suitable device (PC, Mac or tablet)* with an internet connection.

*It is strongly recommended that you try the free taster course available on the RYA website to check the compatibility of your device and operating system, before booking this course.

  • Access to the RYA Interactive site, valid for one year
  • RYA VHF course handbook
  • Remote support (email or phone) from an experienced RYA Instructor
  • Routine operation of marine VHF radio including Digital Selective Calling
  • Correct VHF channels (frequencies) to be used for each type of communication
  • Distress, emergency and medical assistance procedures
  • Ship to shore communication
  • Practical use of Marine VHF DSC radios
  • Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)
  • Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRB)
  • Search and Rescue Transponders (SART)

On successful completion of the pre-exam knowledge check, please contact us to arrange your RYA assessment. This will be conducted at a mutually convenient time, at a venue within 30 minutes’ drive of Inverness.

The assessment consists of a short written paper, followed by a practical assessment using VHF training radios and will take around 1.5 hours.

On successful completion of these two elements, the student will be recommended for the award of the Short Range Certificate. This should arrive in the post 2-3 weeks later.

As part of your course pack, you will receive a copy of the RYA VHF Handbook. This provides all the additional information you may need.


Please note, there is a additonal £60 exam fee, payable direct to the RYA. This is done online, in advance of the face-to-face assessment and details of the process will be contained in the joining instructions.

Being an online course, you can start at any time.

Once you have contacted us to an express an interest and paid for your booking, we will provide you with login details for the RYA Interactive site and send you out the course handbook in the post.

On successful completion of the course and exam, you will have a good understanding of all the functions available on marine VHF radios. You should feel confident making both voice and DSC calls, in routine and emergency situations.

Your Short Range Certificate is valid for life and qualifies you to operate a Class D marine band VHF radio on British flagged vessels under 300grt, voluntarily fitted with GMDSS equipment.

It is crucial to put theory into practice. The skills you will acquire on this course will be consolidated when used in context on the water. You should aim to use live marine VHF radios at the earliest opportunity.

Please contact us to book and pay for this course. On receipt of payment, we will provide you with joining instructions and login details for the RYA Interactive site, along with your course handbook.

To enable access to your online course we need to share some of your personal data with the RYA via your user profile in www.ryainteractive.org. This learning management website is hosted and maintained by a third party called Learning Pool, who will not use your personal information for any reason other than enabling your course.

Your name and email address will be entered on www.ryainteractive.org in order to create your user account. On your first access to the site, you will be asked to enter your address and date of birth. You will have access to the site for one year in order to complete your online course. During this period, your personal information will be held on the website by Learning Pool and be available to this training centre and the RYA for the purpose of managing your course.

Instructional support will be provided by this training centre for a period of 12 months from the date of your course booking.

On completion of your course, your name, email, date of birth and address will be transferred to the RYA’s central database for the purpose of recording details of the course and any certification you gain as a result of it. This information allows the RYA to record your certification, to update any records they may already hold about you or your qualifications and to verify your certificate if required.

After one year from the date of your enrolment on a course, your user account will be removed from www.ryainteractive.org.

Full details of how the RYA will deal with your personal information will be displayed when you first access www.ryainteractive.org.

For the duration of your access to the site, your data will be held in accordance with the RYA Interactive Data Policy, Terms and Conditions.