The Very High Frequency (VHF) Data Exchange System (VDES) is a new radio communication system being developed by the international maritime community, with the principal objectives to safeguard existing Automatic Identification System (AIS) core functions and enhance maritime communication applications, based on robust, efficient and secure data transmission with wider bandwidth than the AIS. VDES is also being considered as a potential component of the R-mode concept, where the same signals used for communication are also used for ranging, thus mitigating the impact of disruptions to satellite positioning services. This paper establishes statistical performance bounds on the ranging precision of VDES R-mode, assuming an additive white Gaussian noise propagation channel. Modified Cramér-Rao bounds on the pseudorange estimation error are provided for all waveforms currently proposed for use in terrestrial VDES communications. These are then used to estimate the maximum usable ranges for AIS/VDES R-mode stations. The results show that, under the assumed channel conditions, all of the new VDES waveforms provide better ranging performance than the AIS waveform, with the best performance being achieved using the 100 kHz bandwidth terrestrial VDE waveforms.