The IYT VHF radio licence explained

picture of a vhf radio, the type used with the vhf licence to communicate with other vessels and the coastgurad

The IYT (international yacht training) VHF radio marine communications course is a course which teaches people how to use a VHF (very high frequency) radio and the VHF operators certificate.

Once the course has been completed satisfactorily (there’s a test) the IYT will issue the attendee with a licence which will allow them to use a VHF radio. More often than not this will be as the master of a vessel.

If at this point you don’t know what a VHF is then take a look at this post about marine radios

So what does the course involve?

It’s a one day course which covers all the areas you will need to know about to use a vhf correctly and not break any laws in the process

the course itself is mostly theory based with a few test calls carried out to demonstrate ability and get a feel for how the radios themselves work.

through out the course you will cover the following topics:

  • Introduction to VHF radio’s

What, hows and whys.

  • Basic radio maritime theory

Touching on the science behind VHF’s and what makes them the go to choice for pleasure craft

  • Line of sight

Explaining why you can hear a boat thirty miles away but not one the other side of a headland.

  • subsidiary equipment

What new hi tech gadgets utilise the ‘very high frequency’

  • Common radio terms

No one ever says ‘Roger’. Except in world war two films where there’s an American flying a plane and using a radio, for the record that person is an actor. If you ever say ‘Roger’ on the radio then this course is for you.

  • Regulations/licensing requirements

What bits of paper you’re going to need in what countries.

And all that before lunch, afterward:

  • VHF radio equipment

Geeking out about fancy kit.

  • Radio procedures

Do’s and do not’s so that everyone can understand what’s going on.

  • Transmitting and receiving

It’s not possible to do both at the same time. This course explains why.

  • The phonetic alphabet

Never mis-spell another word over the phone again

  • Emergency radio communications

Pre agreed, internationally recognised procedures and words to use in an emergency to ensure help arrives.

  • EPIRB and SART

What these things are, and what to do with them if you own them (and why you might want them)

  • Hand held short range VHF maritime radios

Very handy, but not the go to communication tool in an emergency. This course explains why.

Do you need a VHF licence?

Well if you’re still reading then I’m going to hazard a guess that yes, you do need one. The people who will definitely need a VHF licence are those who wish to command a boat by themselves in most countries. (every country is different so I would double check before going!)

However most countries require a radio licence as part of a skippers or masters licence. The skippers licence is the most asked for qualification when chartering a boat. So with this in mind and the fact that using the radio correctly may just save yours or someone else’s life, I thoroughly recommend getting one.

Finally to illustrate the point of why Correct use of VHF is important here is a politically incorrect light heated look at how things can go wrong on when using a radio to communicate:


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