Recreational radiocommunication: radio license and MMSI

What is a Marine Radio License?

The marine radio license , or boat radio license , is an official document that authorizes the use of a transceiver device on the VHF . In the context of pleasure boating, it is therefore the piece that gives the captain the authorization to use maritime frequencies to communicate by radio , whether to transmit or collect information.

In short, the radio license is the document that allows the yachtsman to navigate safely, offering him several possibilities. For example :

  • Communicate with other vessels, port authorities or maritime operators
  • Stay informed of the weather and any risks in your navigation area, report a maritime signaling problem or an Unidentified Floating Object if necessary with a safety message
  • Transmit an emergency or distress message to the emergency services, request assistance, be accompanied in the event of first aid to be carried out on board and above all be located more quickly in the event of damage

At a time when almost all yachtsmen have a mobile phone, remember that VHF-type equipment has a much greater range at sea, which can really make a difference: they allow contact with the adapted rescue, which will intervene more quickly.

Did you know ? Beyond 6 miles from a shelter, having a fixed VHF on board your boat is an obligation

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Is the radio license compulsory?

Obtaining a radio license is necessary for all boaters wishing to use a radio station on board. Several devices are concerned: the VHF whether fixed or mobile, but also the AIS transponder, the EPIRB beacon or the radar , which can also be registered on the license .

Holding a permit or diploma does not release the yachtsman from this obligation: even if he has the Permis Mer or the Restricted Radiotelephony Certificate (CRR) , Maritime or River, he must be in possession of a radio licence . Indeed, if the permit or certificate attests to a level of skills, the radio license justifies the registration of the equipment and the communication of all the necessary information to the administrative authorities.

The only exception to the rule: if the maximum power of the device is less than 6 watts , and it does not have the Digital Selective Calling (DSC) function. So the use of the equipment can be done without a radio license and no information is attached to the equipment.

How do I get a radio license?

To apply for a maritime radio license from the administration, there are several documents to collect. The yachtsman will have to fill in an information form, where he will communicate in particular his contact details, the brand and the model of the device concerned. He will attach proof of identity, ownership and registration of the vessel, as well as proof of the legal person if the boat belongs to a company or association.

Once the formality has been completed, the applicant will receive his updated radio license every year electronically.

Any change in the ownership of the boat must give rise to an update of the radio license, supporting the deed of sale of the vessel. An owner who changes boat , even if he keeps the same VHF equipment, is also required to modify his radio license to be in good standing... and safe! It is the same when buying a boat under a foreign flag : the new owner is required to obtain a radio license under the ship's registration flag .

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What is an MMSI number?

The Maritime Mobile Service Identity , or MMSI , is a number given to the owner of a vessel when obtaining a radio license. Composed of 9 digits, it corresponds to the entire file provided at the time of the request: it includes the identity of the owner, the details of the radio equipment, the details of the boat ... so much information likely to be transmitted to rescue services during an emergency or distress call, to facilitate their intervention.

As an owner, it is therefore important to then ensure that the various information related to his file is updated, to guarantee his safety!

Not all recreational radiocommunication equipment is affected by the MMSI number: this must be entered in the interface of fixed or mobile VHF MF/HF equipped with ASN , EPIRB, SSB distress beacons, etc. .

Did you know ? It is possible to have a radio license without necessarily having an MMSI number , the issuance of a Maritime Mobile Service Identity depends on the on-board equipment!

Why get an MMSI number?

As you have understood, as a yachtsman, the transmission of your information depends on the MMSI number. Configured on board, on your radio station , the MMSI allows your data to be sent to the services concerned, in the event of an emergency or distress call from your device. If necessary, the first aiders will have access to all the information in your file and will be able to intervene quickly and appropriately.

It should also be noted that the contact details of the people to contact in the event of an emergency are also provided: your relatives can thus be notified in the event of a serious problem.

Do you want to make a first request or a modification of a radio license? Trust us with your project ! takes care of your papers so that you can go sailing without delay.

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Recreational radiocommunication: radio license and MMSI –