Links to Get FCC Ships License and RR Operators Permit

Frustrated by trying to google FCC ships license and operators permit and finding nothing but mumbo jumbo?  Here are two ways to get the necessary radio licenses so you can use that expensive radio equipment aboard your boat.

1.  Do I need an FCC radio license for my boat?

According to the FCC:   “you do not need a license to operate a marine VHF radio, radar, or EPIRBs aboard voluntary ships operating domestically. The term “voluntary ships” refers to ships that are not required by law to carry a radio. Generally, this term applies to recreation or pleasure craft”. 

There are three caveats:  note that the key word in the definition is DOMESTICALLY.  If you plan to sail outside of US waters, you need a Ships License for your VHF and SSB radios.   One license covers all the radios aboard.

Second, if you have a marine band, SSB or amateur radio aboard, you must have a FCC ships license.

Third:  if you have any radio capable of DSC (distress calling), you must have an MMSI number and it must be registered with the US Coast Guard.  Most VHF radios these days have DSC calling.   “If you have a marine radio with DSC capability, you must obtain a nine-digit maritime mobile service identity (MMSI) number and have it programmed into the unit before you transmit. Each vessel needs only one MMSI number. Prior to obtaining an MMSI number, you will be asked to provide certain information about your ship. It is important that you obtain an MMSI number because the U.S. Coast Guard uses this information to help speed search and rescue operations.”

So most cruisers will need a Ships License, including their MMSI number.  The FCC currently charges $160 (1.2014) for a 10 year Ships License.

2.  Do I need an FCC license for ME as the operator?  The FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit is required for boaters having an HF radiotelephone (SSB) and also for boaters having a VHF transceiver and traveling in foreign waters.   So generally cruisers will need the FCC Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit.  This permit lasts a lifetime and currently costs $60 (1.2014).FCCColor

3.  How Do I Get The Ships License and Operators Permit?  This is where it gets tricky.  You need to file certain forms which can be done either online (preferred), by US Mail or through a third party familiar with all the hassle necessary – and it’s not simple.  Below is an e-mail I received from the FCC explaining the process.   But before that, if you would rather pay someone to expedite this process, you can go to Dockside Radio and Gary will handle everything, all you have to do is fill out a simple one page form, pay him $99 (1.2014).  Click on FCC Radio Licenses, the very top left link on the site.  This service can be well worth the $ if you’re busy trying to get ready to leave to go cruising and put off this seemingly inconsequential detail until the last minute.

FCCHere’s the explanation I received from the nice people at the FCC:
The information you requested from the FCC can be found below in the body of the email.

If you have any questions contact us at (877) 480-3201.  Thank You!

Summary: Filing Instructions – Application

Solution Description: This article provides information on how to file an application for a new Ship Station license in the Universal Licensing System (ULS).

Steps to Filing an Application for a new Ship Station license:

Log in to https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/licManager/login.jsp with your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and Password.  If you do not know the password, click on the Contact Tech Support link, and then click the Reset Password button to follow the prompts for resetting the password.

If you do not have an FRN, you will need to register for one here: https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/regEntityType.do

Note: If you are taken to the My Applications page after logging in, click My Licenses to begin the steps below
Please refer to the online ?Help files or Common Questions if you need assistance with the application.

1. On the left side of the screen, click Apply for a New License
2. From the drop down box, select the Radio Service for the new license – Choose SA or SB- Ship
3. Click Continue to navigate through the application
4. Sign your application and click Submit Application by typing your first and last name in the name fields you have signed
your application
5. ULS will calculate the fees. Fees for online filing MUST be received within 10 calendar days of the filing.
6. Click the Continue For Payment Options button to choose the method of payment.

Further information regarding Ship Station licenses can be found at http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/index.htm?job=service_home&id=ship_stations

___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Our Icom M802 requires an FCC Ships Station License as well as an Operators Permit.

Our Icom M802 requires an FCC Ships Station License as well as an Operators Permit.

When obtaining a ship station license for international voyages, the operator of the radio is also required to carry a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit.

Steps to Filing an Application for a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit in the ULS (Universal Licensing System)
Log in to https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/licManager/login.jsp with your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and Password.  If you do not know the password, click on the Contact Tech Support link, and then click the Reset Password button to follow the prompts for resetting the password.

If you do not have an FRN, you will need to register for one here: https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/regEntityType.do

Note: If you are taken to the My Applications page after logging in, click My Licenses to begin the steps below
Please refer to the online ?Help files or Common Questions if you need assistance with the application.

1. On the My License page click the Apply for a New License
2. Choose RR – Restricted Operator. Click Continue to navigate through the application
3. Click Continue to Certify
4. Sign your application by typing your name in the appropriate box
5. Submit your application
6. ULS will calculate the fees. Fees for online filing MUST be received within 10 calendar days of the filing
7. Click the Continue For Payment Options button to choose the method of payment

For further information regarding the Restricted Radiotelephone Operator permit, visit http://wireless.fcc.gov/commoperators/index.htm?job=rr

The Rules that govern the Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permits can be found under 47 CFR – Part 13 and are accessible at the following website: http://www.fcc.gov/encyclopedia/rules-regulations-title-47

If you have any further questions, or need additional information, submit a request through http://esupport.fcc.gov or call the  FCC Licensing Support Center at (877) 480-3201.

Sincerely,  FCC Licensing Support Center

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Hopefully this information is helpful in navigating the FCC maze to obtain the necessary ships station and operators permit licenses.   Have a great time cruising!   If anyone has additional information or resources to add to this post, please leave a comment and share.  Cheers!  Jan

Comments

  1. I have a restricted rr radio telephone license. Can I call a ship at sea from home with a ssb marine radio

    • Hi Rick — clarification: you’re using a marine ssb radio but it’s located in your house on land? And you want to call a ship at sea. Do I have this right? Cheers — Jan

  2. Thank you so much for providing such clear instructions on how to file FCC605. Saved me $100 and many headaches:-)

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