Please select your home edition

Marine VHF Radio: Q&A with Icom's Ian Lockyer

by Mark Jardine & Ian Lockyer 7 Jul 2020 12:00 BST
VHF Radio Advice For RYA Onboard Trainers © Paul Wyeth / RYA

We spoke to Icom Marine's Ian Lockyer to find out a more about Marine VHF Radio including how to get a licence, what to do in an emergency and what the M1 and M2 channels are.

Marine VHF Radio Licence: How do I go about getting qualified?

All marine VHF users should be suitably qualified/licenced and have passed the RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate (SRC) course which is run at many sailing clubs, water sports centres and colleges in the UK. The SRC is the minimum qualification required to operate marine VHF radio equipment on a UK flagged vessel. This includes both fixed and handheld equipment with and without Digital Selective Calling (DSC).

The SRC course may be taken in a classroom or online through an RYA Recognised Training Centre. The exam is a combination of a written theory test and practical assessment in the use of Marine VHF DSC radios. Candidates must be 16 years or older on the day of the exam.

For more information, visit the following dedicated page on the RYA website: RYA Marine Radio Short Range Certificate.

Channel 16 - What do I do in an emergency?

Channel 16 (The Calling and Emergency Channel) should be monitored in an emergency and as much as possible the channel should be kept clear for emergency responses and co-ordination.

A distress call is the most serious level of emergency. It applies to any situation where a person is threatened by grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance.

When using your marine VHF radio to make a distress call you must prefix the call with 'Mayday' so that we can identify it as an emergency call for help. A distress call has priority over all other transmissions.

A mayday call should be sent on Channel 16. On completion of the distress call, release the transmit button and listen. If you do not receive an acknowledgement after approximately one minute, check the VHF set and repeat your distress call.

If you hear a distress call on your VHF radio, write down the details. If you can help you should acknowledge accordingly, but only after giving an opportunity for the Coastguard station or some larger vessels to do so.

What are Marine Channels M1 & M2?

Channel M1 (37A) and M2 (P4) are the designated club and marina use channels for leisure users.

UK Marina Channels: M1=37A (157.850 MHz), M2=P4 (161.425 MHz)

All Icom marine VHF radios purchased from authorised Icom UK dealers within the UK and Southern Ireland have these channels as standard. Be aware that products sourced from overseas markets including other parts of Europe are unlikely to have these channels enabled.

Find out more about Icom's range of Marine VHF Radios at

Related Articles

Video overview from ICOM UK
Using their lightweight buoyant Marine VHF Handheld Radio Icom UK have produced a video overview of Icom's bestselling handheld marine VHF radio, the IC-M25EURO. Posted on 10 Jun
How to use a Marine VHF Radio
Find out more in this Icom UK Knowledge Base Article Last year, Icom UK published an article that explained how to apply for a marine VHF licence. It was extremely popular in assisting their customers in navigating the issues involved in getting their licence. Posted on 14 May
Icom IC-M510 wins prestigious iF Design Award 2022
One of the most renowned design competitions in the world The advanced Icom IC-M510 fixed VHF/DSC marine radio has recently won the prestigious iF Design Award, one of the most renowned design competitions in the world. The IC-M510 won in both the 'Product' and 'Telecommunication' categories. Posted on 12 May
IC-M510 VHF/DSC Marine Radio AIS Receive Version
The latest addition to the Icom line-up of marine products The latest addition to our line-up of marine products is the AIS RX version of the IC-M510, our stylish VHF/DSC with a large easy to read full colour display also offering secondary control using our Smartphone App. Posted on 21 Dec 2021
Icom IC-M804 launches next week
A new long-range MF/HF Class E DSC radio for ocean-going sailors Launching at METS Marine Trade show, the Icom IC-M804 is a new long-range MF/HF Class E DSC radio for ocean-going sailors and commercial non GMDSS operators. The IC-M804 is packed with features to keep users safe. Posted on 14 Nov 2021
Getting Your Marine VHF Radio Licence
Read the latest Icom Knowledge Base article One of the most popular questions customers ask the Icom team is how you get a marine radio VHF licence. The team have answered this in various ways on their website but never as a definitive article. Posted on 7 Oct 2021
Introducing the IC-M510 VHF/DSC
Marine Radio with Smartphone Control The IC-M510 is a stylish, new advanced VHF/DSC marine radio from Icom that gives smartphone control of your radio using the RS-M500 app (iOS™/Android™). Up to three smartphones can act as remote controllers via the radio's WLAN. Posted on 13 Sep 2021
Icom to Launch New Innovative Marine VHF Radios
New ground-breaking products displayed at Southampton this week The world may have changed over the last year and a half but there are some things you can count on, including Icom's expert team who will be on hand to demonstrate their latest range of marine products at the Southampton Boatshow. Posted on 10 Sep 2021
12-Year-Old Attempts Bristol Channel Crossing
Sailing a Topper by herself in aid of The Maiden Factor Foundation Can you remember when you were 12-years old? Did you have the courage to take part in a big adventure, voyage, or expedition? Did you ever think of raising money for others? If most of us are truly honest, we would probably say no. Posted on 20 Aug 2021
Introducing the Icom IC-M94DE
The world's first Marine Handportable with a built-in AIS Receiver! Icom brings all the features of your fixed VHF to a handportable with the introduction of the all-new IC-M94DE... the world's first marine VHF handportable radio with an integrated AIS receiver as well as DSC and GPS. Posted on 5 Apr 2021