Please select your home edition
SWC newsletters (top)

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

by Mark Jardine & Ian Lockyer 7 Jul 2020 11:00 UTC
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

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
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
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
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
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
An Overview of Icom's AIS range
AIS is a must to anyone sailing, either by wind or power With more and more leisure boats venturing further from their local shores, safety is paramount. Leisure boaters that sail in the same waters as large commercial vessels need to have their position information noted to avoid collision. Posted on 11 Dec 2020
Icom Standalone MA-510TR Class B AIS Transponder
Compact, waterproof and with Colour TFT Display The MA-510TR is a new compact, waterproof Class B AIS transponder which will actively notify other vessels of your position as well as displaying real time vessel traffic information. Posted on 29 Oct 2020
5 Year Warranty on Icom Marine VHF Radios
Purchased until the end of September 2020 For the remainder of September, Icom UK will be offering customers who purchase radios from their marine leisure range with the opportunity for you to upgrade them to an amazing 5 years. Posted on 15 Sep 2020
Follow the Icom UK Live Video Streaming
Every day this week on their Facebook page Nothing much is as normal this year and losing the Southampton Boat Show is no exception, but Icom UK intend to bring some of the boat show to you. Posted on 13 Sep 2020
Introducing IC-SAT100M Satellite PTT Mobile radio
The world's first satellite PTT mobile radio and uses the Iridium satellite communication network The IC-SAT100M is the world's first satellite PTT mobile radio and uses the Iridium satellite communication network.button. Posted on 7 Aug 2020
MBW newsletters (top)