Solent Boat Training

RYA VHF DSC RADIO COURSE

D9.1 Certification available

RYA/MCA Maritime Radio Operators Certificate of Competence - GMDSS Short Range Certificate.

D9.2 Minimum course duration

Classroom courses: 10 hours excluding breaks and the exam. This may include up to three hours self-study, prescribed by the Recognised Training Centre (RTC), using the handbook from the course pack prior to the course.

Online courses: training modules are equivalent to 10 hours face-to-face training.

D9.3 Award criteria

Exam run by Short Range Certificate Assessor not involved in the students’ training course (see below).

D9.4 Instructor qualification

RYA SRC Assessor.

If supporting online courses, the Assessor must complete the online course and knowledge check themselves.

D9.5 Student:instructor ratio

Classroom courses: No more than 12 students per class.

D9.6 Course materials

Compulsory
SRCP or E-SRCP (incorporates the VHF Handbook and SRC Exam Eligibility Form). Only original Exam Eligibility Forms will be accepted.
Many of the publications and packs above are also available as eBooks. See the Recognised Training Centre Price List for details.

Training aids: Visual aids appropriate to the course should be provided along with materials such as handbooks, videos, animations and eBooks. Instructors should also provide their own additional training aids.

D9.7 Pre-course study

If students are expected to complete pre-course study, clear instructions must be given to ensure they understand the correct level of knowledge expected prior to commencing classroom study, and the amount of time required to achieve that level of knowledge. The book/eBook voucher from the course pack must be provided to students before the course to enable this pre-course study.

The Exam Eligibility Form in the course pack should be retained by the training centre and stored securely. 

If no self-study is carried out prior to the course, the book/eBook voucher from the course pack must still be provided. The classroom session must cover all 10 hours of teaching time.  

The RTC must have a lesson plan detailing the delivery of the classroom training.

D9.8 Online courses

If a centre wishes to offer online SRC training it must hold RYA recognition for, and promote to their customers, both the SRC classroom and online courses. They remain responsible for facilitating the end of course exam, regardless of whether their students complete the classroom or online training course.

The centre must have a nominated SRC Assessor(s), who has completed the online SRC course themselves, to act as course tutor.

RTCs may upload additional relevant information to their RYA Interactive site but must make it clear whether the material is required information for the course syllabus or is optional extra information. All items relating to the core course content must follow the RYA syllabus.

A system must be in place for supporting students who struggle with the training course content. Reasonable levels of support must be available to students at no extra cost, so any additional help must not automatically be offered on a ‘paid-for’ basis.

If face-to-face/classroom-based coaching takes place, it must not be carried out by the same Assessor who will be running the exam.

D9.9 Exams

Any centre taking a booking for an SRC course is responsible for organising the SRC exam. It is expected that the final exam will take place with the centre that has provided the training. If the exam is to take place at another RTC, this must be pre-arranged, clear to the student at the time of booking and be included in the terms and conditions of that booking. The RTC providing the course is responsible for ensuring the Exam Eligibility Form is passed to the RTC running the exam and the two RTCs must liaise to ensure this happens prior to the exam. 

See RGN B11.1 for full details of arranging SRC exams.

D9.10 Equipment

Training DSC radios or a mix of an RYA approved computer simulation programme with at least one pair of training DSC radios. No more than three students per single radio or computer screen. Dummy versions or visual aids or other equipment should be available in order to teach EPIRBs, SARTs and Navtex.

Training MMSI numbers allocated by OFCOM are 235899980 to 235899999.

Training radio can be obtained from:

Icom (UK) Ltd
Sea Street, Herne Bay, Kent CT6 8LD
Tel: 01227 741741
email: sales@icomuk.co.uk

Odin Marine Electronics
Unit 1 Industrial Estate, School Lane, Selsey, West Sussex PO20 9ER
Tel: 01243 603129

Radio simulators (mark 3) can be obtained from:

Lightmaster UK
18 Stanley Gardens, South Croydon CR2 9AH
Tel: 020 8405 8300
www.nauticalsoftware.com

D9.11 Centre inspection

Required at initial application stage and subsequently every five years. RTCs outside the UK are expected to cover the inspector’s costs.
Change to Distress Relay protocol Earlier this year the RYA liaised with the MCA and AMERC (Association of Marine Electronic and Radio Colleges) to review the protocol for Distress Relay. The key change is: An Urgency Announcement should not be sent prior to transmitting a voice ‘Mayday Relay’ call and message. Therefore, if a distress is received by DSC or voice, the skipper of a vessel should act as follows: 1. Wait five minutes for the distress to be acknowledged by the Coastguard or another vessel 2. If no acknowledgement or distress working is heard, send a ‘Received Mayday’ voice call to the station in distress, then: 3. Relay the distress message to the nearest Coastguard, which may be by any means, but should primarily be sent using a ‘Mayday Relay” voice call addressed to the specific Coastguard station followed by repetition of the original ‘Mayday message’. 4. The Coastguard should respond and take over distress working and co-ordinate the assistance. 5. If unable to contact a Coast station, send a ‘Mayday Relay’ call, addressed to ‘All Stations’, followed by the repetition of the original ‘Mayday message’. You should then prepare to co-ordinate the assistance to the vessel in distress between yourself and any other vessels in the vicinity. The same approach, starting at step 3, should be taken if you believe another vessel, aircraft, person or vehicle is in distress and unable to transmit its own distress signal.” Summary of other regulatory and technological changes  The term ‘SART’ may refer to an AIS-based ‘Search and Rescue Transmitter’ or a radar-based ‘Search and Rescue Transponder’. Both systems are now officially part of the GMDSS.  The channels on which UK Maritime Safety Information (MSI) messages are transmitted have been changed to 62, 63 and 64.  A Ship Portable Radio Licence (SPRL) is for equipment such as a handheld VHF, PLB or EPIRB that may be used on multiple vessels. An SPRL is valid only to the extent of UK territorial seas.  Some VHF sets fitted with DSC now include an in-built function to cancel a distress alert instead of the switch-off-switch-back-on approach. Users of VHF radios are reminded of the importance of familiarising themselves with the specific equipment that they will use.  RYA SafeTrx has replaced CG66 as the UK’s voluntary identification database. Cont… Explanation of changes to SRC courses and exams Issued 16 September 2019. Information correct at time of publication  Official ITU Radio Regulations terminology has been adopted to refer to urgency, safety and routine DSC calls. The correct terms are, ‘Urgency Announcement', 'Safety Announcement' and 'Routine Announcement'. Previously these we referred to as ‘Alerts’, a term which is reserved for DSC ‘Distress’ calls only.  An EPIRB or PLB must be programmed with a Hex ID. An EPIRB may also incorporate an AIS transmitter as well as a GNSS receiver. New written Exam Papers In response to the changes above, a new suite of four SRC written exam papers (L, M, N and O) are now available. These have also been updated to reduce the number of UK-specific questions and to avoid confusion with some of the questions in Part A. The new papers should be downloaded from the Training Support Site and used instead of the old papers E, F, G, H, J and K with immediate effect. Their availability is restricted to RYA SRC Assessors, so Assessors will need to be signed-in to their personal account on the RYA website in order to download them. For the first time, an answer sheet is available for each paper which can also be downloaded from the Training Support Site. Most of the questions are either right or wrong with the exception being the requirement to compose a distress call and message. The answer sheet includes marking guidance so that this element of the exam paper can be marked more consistently across the board. There is no change to RGN D9.9 “Completed examination papers must be held by the centre for five years, or until its next SRC centre inspection, whichever is shorter. Centres should include a statement to this effect within their privacy policy.” RYA Training may request copies of completed written exam papers at any time. While the changes are becoming embedded, SRC Assessors and RTCs should be mindful of the fact that some course students, while being taught using the new syllabus in the classroom, may have received a course pack which is not yet the updated version. Equally, Assessors may have exam candidates who have undergone the course either online or in the classroom prior to the changes coming into force. To accommodate this, SRC Assessors are requested to be flexible and use their judgement during both written and practical exams. Students who have been taught the previous Distress Relay protocol and who demonstrate during their exam the use of an Urgency Announcement should not be penalised but should be given guidance on the correct protocol during their debrief. The same applies to other areas such as using the term ‘alert’ instead of ‘announcement’ and the inclusion of other items not previously taught in the course. New Marine Radio (SRC) course syllabus The new course syllabus includes guidance on what should be included on a RYA Marine Radio (SRC) course and to what level each element should be taught. This includes:  Although AIS uses VHF it should only be taught in the context of life saving equipment that is fitted with AIS, e.g. EPIRBs, SARTs and Personal AIS Beacons  Personal distress and MOB beacons should be taught to only a limited extent, in part due to the ever-changing technology that is emerging  Navtex should be taught at a basic level and on a practical rather than technical basis  ATIS is not included in the syllabus The syllabus can be downloaded from the Training Support Site. Updated SRC Report cards The new SRC course packs will include a revised report card, now called an ‘Exam Eligibility Form’. The sections on the sticker part of the form have been updated and detailed instructions on how the forms must be handled and completed are given on the reverse. Please note that there is no change to the requirement that only original forms (stickers) may be submitted to the Certification department. Issued 16 September 2019. Information correct at time of publication The change has been brought about following confusion surrounding how report cards should be supplied for an exam candidate who has taken an online course or completed the course at another training centre. The tear-off temporary pass certificate remains part of the form and may be used as evidence of successful completion of the SRC exam when used for an RYA Yachtmaster exam, Advanced Powerboat exam or a commercial endorsement. The temporary pass certificate is valid for 28 days from the date of the exam. Stocks of course packs containing the existing report form should be used up first before starting to use the new style of form that will be received with future course pack orders. Updated VHF Handbook (G31, e-G31, SRCP and e-SRCP) The VHF Handbook, which must be issued to every RYA student prior to an SRC course, has been updated to reflect the changes mentioned here. Course packs containing the July 2019 reprint are expected to be available by the end of October 2019 when existing stock runs out. A full list of changes can be found in the books change log. A Summary of Updates for RTCs and Assessors to share with students holding the old edition can be downloaded from the Training Support Site. Printed copies are available on request by emailing training@rya.org.uk. Revalidation reminder SRC Assessors who qualified before 1 May 2014 have been invited to complete the online revalidation course and must do so before 31 October 2019 in order to retain their SRC Assessor qualification. Assessors qualified after 1 May 2014 will be (or have already been) contacted approximately a month before their expiry date with instructions on registering for the revalidation course and should complete the revalidation before the expiry date. If you have any queries about your revalidation please email training@rya.org.uk.

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