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VHF License
How to get a VHF Radio Operator's Certificate

VHF License


The rule across Canada is that boaters must have a Radio Operator’s Certificate – Marine (ROC-M) to use any marine radio, including VHF.  You do not need the certificate to listen to the radio – to monitor marine weather, for instance, or emergency calls.  You don’t need a certificate to use a CB radio, either.  But if you want to transmit on a VHF radio, you need the ROC-M. 


To get your certificate you have to know the basic radio procedures – the wording to use in certain circumstances, the regulations and penalties for improper use, as well as the phonetic alphabet – your Alpha Bravo Charlies, so to speak. 


Canadian Power and Sail Squadrons and Canadian Yachting Association offer courses, as do other organizations, or you can study the CPS Maritime Radio Course Manual, and take a test with an approved registered examiner.  Once you pass the test and get your certificate, it’s good for life.  You are no longer required to have a ship station licence within Canadian waters but if you do plan to enter US waters you should. 


The VHF radio is the best way to call for help, because it is monitored by Coast Guard, as well as any vessel with a VHF within listening range.  You could get help from a nearby boater very quickly. 

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