VHF radio courses and resources

A VHF radio is only a reliable safety device if you know how to use it. That’s why you’re legally required to hold a Maritime VHF Radio Operator Certificate (unless you use your VHF radio for distress or emergency calls only) – as well as a call sign for your boat so your call can easily be tracked.

On this page:

Do a Coastguard Boating Education VHF radio course

Having a Maritime VHF Radio Operator Certificate is a legal requirement for using a VHF radio (unless you’re making a distress call or calling about or responding to an emergency). Whether you use it for an emergency or not, you need to know how to use your VHF radio properly.

Coastguard Boating Education offers a Maritime VHF Radio Operator Certificate course, which you can do either face to face or online.

It takes only a few hours and costs $85.

To find out more, go to www.boatingeducation.org.nz or contact Coastguard Boating Education at info@boatingeducation.org.nz or on 0800 40 80 90.

Get a call sign for your boat

Once you’ve completed a VHF radio course you can get a call sign, which is unique to your boat and is a legal requirement for making a call on your VHF radio.

There might be several boats in New Zealand with the same name as yours, so the call sign distinguishes your boat. The call sign is registered on the National Search and Rescue Database, which will include other information about your boat and emergency contact details that will make it easier to help you. If you sell your boat you can keep your call sign or let it go with the boat’s new owner.

The one-off cost is $45.

To find out more, go to www.boatingeducation.org.nz or contact Coastguard Boating Education at info@boatingeducation.org.nz or on 0800 40 80 90.

Download our Radio handbook

A helpful resource and a must for every skipper.

In this handbook:

learn the correct procedures for communicating

find information about coverage and services

find useful contacts and a glossary

two stickers for quick reference


Request print copy Download as PDF

Related information:
Get a quick visual guide for your vessel.

VHF channels

This sticker lists the major VHF channels.

[PDF: 110KB, 1 page]

Download
Get a quick guide for MAYDAY calling.

Radio distress calling

This sticker outlines the radio procedure for distress calls.

[PDF: 30KB, 1 page]

Download