The first of our self-study courses is here. The marine radio short range certificate allows you to operate the VHF radio on the boat.

While some aspects of it are fairly straightforward (e.g. push the “push to transmit” button to transmit), there’s a fair amount to learn to be able to use it effectively and legally.

Interesting bits included learning the recommended format for a mayday message, what information to include, and when it’s appropriate to send one. It was also useful to learn how to relay a mayday call from someone else to a rescue service.

One other thing I learnt today is that there are two other levels of alerts; pan-pan and securité. A pan pan is used for urgent messages that don’t include an immediate danger to life or the vessel. For example, engine failure or being dismasted could leave you drifting and in need of a tow. Securité is used for safety messages, such as weather warnings, or missing navigation marks.

Overall, it’s been an interesting day, despite being delivered in an online format you’d recognise from every corporate information security training you’ve ever done. There’s a face to face assessment to follow, after which I should be qualified to do more than just listen to the radio on board.