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Testing and licensing users of Marine VHF sets

Comment 1st August 2010

Currently anyone in the U.K wishing to use a marine VHF set for transmissions at sea has to pass a test of competence and then apply for a licence. The test covers correct radio procedure, including in emergencies.  The one day course costs about eighty pounds. My handheld radio cost about sixty pounds. It might seem reasonable that users should use correct procedure. However, I wish to make two points:

1. I know that many people ignore the requirement for a test and licence. I have never heard  of any enforcement.

2. I spend most of my sea time in  USA coastal waters using marine VHF. No such testing or licensing is required in the USA, and radio procedure seems no worse than in the UK.

There is already an excellent Government booklet to advise users on correct procedure. Any abuse of the system could be dealt with as at present.

Why does this matter?

This would be a tiny step towards smaller Government.

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