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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. This includes both fixed and hand held equipment using international channels.

You can now complete the course through the RYA's interactive site using an online learning program, which is then followed by a practical exam. Please see below for a schedule of practical exam dates at the Watersports Centre.

Once you've signed up for the course, we'll issue you a personal login and password and you'll receive a copy of the RYA VHF handbook by post. You'll then be able to complete the course in your own time (we estimate that it takes around 4-8 hours to complete).  Email support is available if you have any queries. Once you've completed all the learning modules, you must pass a pre-exam knowledge check to be able to print off your course completion certificate, which you must then take with you when you do the practical exam.


You must be at least 16 years of age. You'll also need access to a PC Windows Vista service pack 2, 1GHz (x86) processor, 512 MB RAM, sound card and Quicktime. Mac users must be using OS X10.7 (Lion) or higher. The course can also now be taken on iPads.


  • Southampton Solent University students and staff: £50
  • Students: £90 (students refers to anyone in full-time education - proof is required at time of booking. Please call or email to book so that the discount can be applied to your booking.)
  • Public rate: £90 

Exam fee
£60 - payable directly to the RYA

Regrettably, cash cannot be accepted for the exam fee; credit/debit card is acceptable. Please remember to bring with you a passport-sized photo to send to the RYA for your certificate.

Book your place

Online course

Once your booking has been received we'll set you up on the course and you'll receive a username and password for the RYA interactive site by email within two working days. If you don't receive it within this time, please contact us on 023 8201 4298. You'll also be sent your VHF handbook by post. If the address provided in the online booking information is not the address you would like the handbook sent to, please email us as soon as you book to give us the address to where you would like it sent.

Practical exam

Exam dates and booking
Date Time Venue Spaces available Book 
TBC Between 9am and 5pm  Watersports Centre, Warsash  6 Telephone: 023 8201 4298
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