A-G31 Audiobook Accompanying Resources


At the back of the printed book and eBook versions of RYA VHF Handbook, there are various appendices and additional resources. These are not included in the audiobook A-G31 RYA VHF Handbook as they are intended as visual reference resources. Instead, this web page replicates the information in these appendices where possible. Where not possible, links to equivalent external sources have been provided.

Appendix 1: CEPT Examination Syllabus Guidelines for GMDSS Short Range Certificate (SRC)

(Nicosia 1995 and revised in Kyiv 2009)

A. General Knowledge of Radiocommunications in the Maritime Mobile Service

A1. The general principles and basic features

1.1 Types of communication in the maritime mobile service:

Distress, urgency and safety communications

SAR (Search and Rescue) Communication

Public correspondence

Port operations and ship movement service

Intership communications

On board communications

1.2 Types of stations:

Ship stations

Coast stations

Rescue coordination centres

Pilot, VTS and port stations

Aircraft stations

1.3 General knowledge of VHF radio channels:

The physical concept of frequency

Propagation and range of communications

The concept of radio channel: simplex, semi-duplex and duplex

The use of and restriction on VHF channels

Distress and safety channels

Calling channels

Intership channels

Port operations and ship movement channels

Public correspondence channels

National channels for small craft safety

A2. System overview of the GMDSS structure

2.1 System design:


Block Diagram

A3. Search and Rescue (SAR)

3.1 SAR regions

3.2 The role of Rescue coordination centres

3.3. Organisation of search and rescue

3.4 SAR communication including on-scene communications

A4. Maritime Safety Information (MSI)

4.1 The NAVTEX system:

Purpose and capabilities, including Distress and Safety functions

Message format (transmitter ID, message type, message number)

Selection of transmitters and message type

Messages which can not be rejected

B. Practical knowledge of radio equipment

B1. The VHF radio installation

1.1 Radiotelephone channels:

Channel selection and controls

Dual watch facilities and controls

1.2 Basic controls and usage:

Connecting the power

Press to transmit switch

High/low output power switch

Volume control

Squelch control


1.3 Handheld VHF radiotelephone:


B2. Digital Selective Calling (DSC)

2.1 Call categorisation, priority and definitions:





2.2 Types of call


All ships


2.3 Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI)

The nationality identification: Maritime Identification Digits (MID)

Ship station numbers

Coast station numbers

Group call numbers

2.4 Facilities and usage:

Distress button

Data entry and display

Manual and automatic updating of vessel position

Reviewing received messages

Watchkeeping functions and controls

B3. Antennas, interfacing and power sources

3.1 Antennas performance and positioning

3.2 Interfacing:

Connection to position device

3.3 Power sources:

Connections to different power sources

Requirements and safety


Maintenance of batteries

C. Procedures and practical operation of the subsystems

C1. DSC distress, urgency and safety communication procedures

1.1 Distress procedures:

Transmission of a distress alert

Receipt and acknowledgement by a coast station

Reception of a shore-to-ship distress alert relay

Transmission of a distress alert by a station not itself in distress

1.2 Urgency and Safety communications via DSC equipment

Procedures for DSC Urgency and Safety announcements

C2. Protection of distress frequencies

2.1 Avoiding harmful interference:

Avoidance of the transmission of false alert

Status of Channel 16 and 70

2.2 Transmissions during distress traffic

2.3 Prevention of unauthorised transmissions

2.4 Test protocols and procedures:

Testing DSC equipment

Radiotelephone test procedures

2.5 Avoidance of transmission in VHF guard bands

2.6 Procedures to follow when a false or inadvertent Distress Alert is transmitted

C3. Alerting, Communication and Locating Signals

3.1 406 MHz Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBS):

Registration and coding

Operation, activation and testing

121.5 MHz homing function

Mounting float-free mechanism

Battery expiry date

3.2 Search and Rescue Radar Transponder and Transmitter (SART):

Operation height and range

Battery expiry date

3.3. Handheld VHF:


Communication range

Battery provision

D. Radiotelephony Procedures

D1. Ability to exchange communications relevant to the safety of life at sea

1.1 Distress communications:

Distress signal MAYDAY

Distress call

Distress message

Acknowledgement RECEIVED MAYDAY

Follow up distress traffic

The control of distress traffic


Transmission of a distress message by a station not itself in distress


1.2 Urgency communications:

Urgency signal PAN-PAN

Urgency call

Urgency message


1.3 Safety communications:

Safety signal SECURITE

Safety call

Safety message

1.4 Awareness of the existence and use of IMO Standard Marine Communication Phrases Vocabulary:

English phrases

1.5 Phonetic alphabet

D2. Practical and theoretical knowledge of radiotelephony procedures

2.1 Traffic routines:

Use of callsigns

Establishing communication on intership, port operation and ship movement channels

Unanswered calls and garbled calls

2.2 Public correspondence and radiotelephony call procedures:

Method of calling a Coast Station

Calls to ships from Coast Stations

2.3 Traffic charges:

International charging system

Accounting Authority Identification Code (AAIC)

E. Regulations for VHF communications

E1. Regulations, obligatory procedures and practices

1.1 Awareness of National and International Documentation:

List of Coast Stations and Special Service Stations

List of Ship Stations and Maritime Mobile Service Identity Assignments

National manuals

1.2 Knowledge of the international regulations and agreements:

Radio Operators Certificate

Ship Station Licence

Radio record keeping

Secrecy of correspondence

Prohibited transmissions


F. Examination requirements

Candidates must show proof of theoretical and practical knowledge and compliance with national requirements.

Appendix 2: Standard Marine CommunicationPhrases

1. Procedure/message markers

When it is necessary to indicate that the Standard Marine Communication Phrases are to be used, the following messages may be sent:

“Please use the Standard Marine Communication Phrases.”

“I will use the Standard Marine Communication Phrases.”

If necessary, external communication messages may be preceded by the following message markers:

QUESTION indicates that the following message is of interrogative character

ANSWER indicates that the following message is the reply to a previous question

REQUEST indicates that the contents of the following message are asking for action from others with respect to the ship

INFORMATION indicates that the following message is restricted to observed facts

INTENTION indicates that the following message informs others about immediate navigational actions intended to be taken

WARNING indicates that the following message informs other traffic participants about dangers

ADVICE indicates that the following message implies the intention of the sender to influence the recipient(s) by a recommendation

INSTRUCTION indicates that the following message implies the intention of the sender to influence the recipient(s) by a regulation.

2. Standard verbs

Where possible, sentences should be introduced by one of the following verb forms:

Always to be used when mandatory order are being given

You must

Do not

Must I?

I require

I am / You are

I have

I can

I wish to

I will

You may


There is

I do not require

I am not / You are not

I do not have

I cannot

I do not wish

I will not

You need not

Advise not

There is not

Do I require?

Am I? / Are you?

Do you have?

Can I?

Can you?

Do you wish to?

May I?

Is there?

Where is/are?

When is/are?

3. Responses

Where the answer to a question is in the affirmative, say:

“yes...” — followed by the appropriate phrase in full.

Where the answer to a question is in the negative, say:

“no...” — followed by the appropriate phrase in full.

Where the information is not immediately available but soon will be, say:

“Stand by”.

Where the information cannot be obtained, say:

“No information”.

Where a message is not properly heard, say:

“Say again”.

Where a message is not understood, say:

“Message not understood”.

4. Distress/urgency/safety messages

MAYDAY (repeated three times) is to be used to announce a distress message

PAN PAN (repeated three times) is to be used to announce an urgency message

SECURITE (repeated three times) is to be used to announce a safety message

5. Miscellaneous phrases

What is your name (and call sign)?

How do you read me?

I read you...






With signal strength...

1/barely perceptible


3/fairly good


5/very good

Stand by on channel...

Change to channel...

I cannot read you.

I cannot understand you.

Please use the...

Standard Marine Communication Phrases

International Code of Signals

I am passing a message for vessel...


I am ready to receive your message.

I am not ready to receive your message.

I do not have channel...

Please use channel...

6. Repetition

If any parts of the message are considered sufficiently important to need safeguarding, use the word "repeat".


"You will load 163 repeat 163 tons bunkers."

"Do not repeat not overtake".

7. Position

When latitude and longitude are used, these shall be expressed in degrees and minutes (and decimals of a minute if necessary), north or south of the Equator and east or west of Greenwich.

When the position is related to a mark, the mark shall be a well-defined charted object. The bearing shall be in the 360 degree notation from true north and shall be that of the position FROM the mark.


"There are salvage operations in position 15 degrees 34 minutes north 61 degrees 29 minutes west."

"Your position is 137 degrees from Barr Head lighthouse distance two decimal four miles."

8. Courses

Always to be expressed in 360 degree notation from north (true north unless otherwise stated). Whether this is to TO or FROM a mark can be stated.

9. Bearings

The bearing of the mark or vessel concerned, is the bearing in the 360 degree notation from north (true north unless otherwise stated), except in the case of relative bearings. Bearings may be either FROM the mark or FROM the vessel.


"The pilot boat is bearing 215° from you."

"Your bearing is 127° from the signal station."

Note: Vessels reporting their position should always quote their bearing FROM the mark, as described in paragraph 7.

Relative bearings

Relative bearings can be expressed in degrees relative to the vessel's head or bow. More frequently this is in relation to the port or starboard bow.


"The buoy is 030° on your port bow."

Relative D/F bearings are more commonly expressed in the 360 degree notation.

10. Distances

Preferably to be expressed in nautical miles or cables (tenths of a mile) otherwise in kilometres or metres, the unit always to be stated.

11. Speed

To be expressed in knots:

a. without further notation meaning speed through the water; or

b. "ground speed" meaning speed over the ground.

12. Numbers

Numbers are to be spoken: "Onefive-zero" for 150.
"Two point five" for 2.5.

13. Geographical names

Place names used should be those on the chart or Sailing Directions in use. Should these not be understood, latitude and longitude should be given.

14. Time

Times should be expressed in the 24 hour notation indicating whether UTC, zone time or local shore time is being used.

Note: In cases not covered by the above phraseology normal radiotelephone practice will prevail.

Resource: Channel Selection Chart

A channel selection chart is available in 'A1. Radio Regulations Appendix 18' of the Ofcom Guidance Notes for Licensing. Please see here.

Resource: GMDSS Sea Areas

A GMDSS sea areas map is available from the MCA website. Please see here.