Join us on our travels around Europe aboard our Dutch Tjalk Francoise

  • Jill Budd

    After 6 years aboard our Narrowboat Matilda Rose in the UK, we took the plunge and shipped her across to Europe. After 2 years in Europe we knew we didn't want to return to the UK so took the plunge and purchased a 1902 20 mtr Dutch Tjalk called Francoise and are now continuing our travels of the waterways of Europe in a buxom wench

  • January 2014
    M T W T F S S
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Vhf Radio Licences

Posted by contentedsouls on 15/01/2014

Jill really gets upset with this topic……why? I hear you say well simples…..she has had a PPL for 35 years part of which includes a VHF Licence but not transferable to Marine VHF….not only but also, we have had a hand held VHF radio for a couple of years but low and behold the Rainwat agreement which covers what radio you have to have state that all boats using the inland waterways of Europe must have a fixed DSC VHF radio with ATIS function….

DSC….digital selective calling
ATIS….automatic transmission identification system

DSC VHF radios start at about £120 but to have one that is waterproof and easily mountable on the back deck of a Narra will set you back about £170 but to go one step further one with inbuilt GPS which will send out your position automatically if sending an automated Mayday call will cost around the £200 mark.


Built-in 12 Channel GPS Antenna
Ultra thin and compact rear case design (3.5” depth)
Powerful 25 Watt VHF/FM Transceiver
Meets ITU-R M493-12 Class D DSC (Digital Selective Calling) with Individual, All ship, Position Report, Request and Distress
Navigation to a DSC Distress Call with compass page **
Automatically poll the GPS position of up to 4 ships using DSC
Enter, Save, and Navigation to waypoint with Compass page **
GPS Compass display **
Navigation (LAT/LON, SOG, and COG) information shown on display**
Submersible JIS-8 1.5M (4.92Ft) for 30 minutes
Noise canceling microphone with channel UP/DOWN, 16/9 and H/L keys
NOAA weather channel selection with alert
Programmable Scan, Priority Scan, and Dual Watch
GPS repeating of position, SOG, COG and time **
Customizable channel names
Oversized dot matrix display
NMEA Input and Output
Programmable soft keys
Capable of connecting to a Second Station CMP30 Remote Access Microphone
Overall Dimension: 5.91″(w) x 3.35″(H) x 3.54″(D)
Flush mount cutout: 5.35”(W) x 2.80”(H) x 2.56”(D)
3 Year Waterproof Warranty

The Rainwat agreement also has to be carried in its 42 page entirety….why? I don’t know.

So as Jill’s VHF licence will not cover us ( Not Yet, more later) I had to go and do a Marine VHF Course which was held by Andrew Phasey at one of the other candidate’s house somewhere near Rugby. Another £100 but this was deemed to be cheap as rules as of this January are changing in that the course instructor can no longer be the examiner, meaning two people will be involved thus increasing the cost.

It was on this course that I also learned that now, as of January 2014, PPL VHF licences will now be transferable to a Marine VHF licence. Could have saved ourselves £100. Damn.

Now that’s not the end of it, it is also a lawful requirement that the boat itself has to be Licensed, this can be done online at:

Once you have your radio licence you will have to apply for a Notice of Variation, this enables you to input your ATIS number into your radio (not required in the UK), the ATIS number is then automatically transmitted every time you have keyed your mike. This can then be used against you if you are found to be using your radio illegally. The ATIS number is sent to the RAINWAT people in Belgium by OFCOM. So be aware big brother is listening to you.

3 Responses to “Vhf Radio Licences”

  1. mike said

    It is illegal to use the DSC function of the radio whist on inland waters. Only to be used at sea.


  2. mike said

    I got upset about VHF marine licences too. I have a full amateur radio licence but that couldn’t be extended to cover marine radio either.


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