© david jerrard 2024

An Irish Ship Radio licence costs €100 and lasts for the lifetime of the vessel.

It includes a unique international call sign for the boat and a unique Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) which is required for a VHF DSC radio and other equipment such as an EPIRB and AIS transponder.

 The Irish authorities require that the applicant holds an acceptable radio operator’s certificate, such as the Irish government  SRC, when applying for a Ship Station licence.

Each participant has an individual radio for their use during the course.

 We use real  VHF/DSC marine radios on our courses; we do not use simulators      

Sea~Craft is an Irish Department of Transport recognised course provider and exam centre.

The course is fully supported with our own course notes dedicated to the Irish VHF exam.

 We have been running successful VHF radio courses and exams for more than 30 years during which time literally thousands of our students, both amateurs and professionals, have been awarded their VHF certificates.


A VHF radio transmitter used on the inland waterways and lakes of Ireland must comply with the same legal requirements as one used at sea: an operator's certificate and a licence for the boat are both required.



A marine VHF radio transceiver is an essential item of safety equipment afloat. Anyone who goes afloat on a vessel of any type should know how to operate one correctly.

Understanding how to communicate effectively with rescue services should you ever find yourself in need of urgent help at sea could quite literally mean the difference between life or death.

Since April of 2001 all new fixed VHF transceivers must include Digital Selective Calling (DSC).

 DSC is an enormous step forward in marine safety communications - you should understand what DSC can do and how to operate it.

A VHF radio certificate is a prerequisite for those undertaking many of the Irish Sailing and RYA assessments and exams.

 It may also be required to comply with the Irish Department of Transport and the UK's Maritime Coastguard Agency (MCA) manning requirements for small commercial vessels.



Although anyone can buy a marine VHF radio from a shop or on-line many countries have regulations and laws regarding their installation and use.

 The regulations are, for the most part, similar for Ireland and the UK as well as many other jurisdictions.

The rules apply equally to permanently installed VHF radios and handheld portable VHF radios.

There are 3 basic legal requirements:

1) The radio must be

                  CE approved

    and carry the CE mark and the

  RTTE Declaration of Conformity:

2) The radio may only be operated by    someone who holds an appropriate           Certificate of Competency

  (or under the control of someone     who does)

3) The boat must have a licence,     known by the catchy title of

   ‘Licence to establish a Wireless     Telegraph Ship Station’:


The ‘old’ Restricted Certificate of Competency in Radio Telephony was discontinued in 2000 and has been replaced by the Short Range Certificate (SRC) which includes Digital Selective Calling (DSC).

 The ‘Restricted VHF’ certificate is still valid but does not include DSC.  Depending on how long ago the Restricted certificate was issued it may be possible to upgrade to the current SRC by completing an upgrade course.


* The range of a mobile at sea is often much less than VHF range.

* There may be no mobile coverage a few miles offshore in many areas.

*  You can't call a passing ship or boat.

*  Most importantly in an emergency only the number you ring will hear you; the ships, leisure craft, yachts, dive boats and others near to you will be unaware that you need help.

*  If you use your phone to call 999 (or112) time will be lost while your call is re-routed to the Coast Guard who must then transmit the details to all vessels and rescue services via Relays, all of which will cost precious time - time you may not have.

*  Mobile phone transmissions may affect the accuracy of GPS positioning.

*  A DSC Distress transmission will automatically alert all ships and rescue services to listen, and respond if appropriate, to your subsequent voice Distress communications.

Download an online

Ship Radio Licence application here

VHF course details VHF course dates VHF FAQS

! NOTE that the Irish government does not recognise the UK’s

Royal Yachting Association VHF SRC issued after June of 2004 and will not issue Authority to Operate in Irish waters or a Ship Station Licence, call sign or MMSI to the holder of an RYA/MCA certificate.