The following is a copy we received of FCC’s Fact Sheet PR5000 - Number 14 dated April 1996, that is titled “SHIP AND AIRCRAFT
RADIO STATION LICENSING.” This new regulation eases the cost to the recreational boaters by not requiring them to a purchase
Radio Station License for purpose of using VHF Radios.
The following is the complete text of this FACT SHEET as it affects SHIP and AIRCRAFT.
WIRELESS TELECOMMUNICATIONS BUREAU
FCC FACT SHEET PR5000, Number 14 - April 1996
FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION 1919 M Street NW.,
Washington DC 20554
SHIP AND AIRCRAFT RADIO STATION LICENSING
On February 8, 1996, the Telecommunications Act of 1996 was signed into law. This act gives the FCC discretion to eliminate the
individual radio station licensing requirement for ships and aircraft operating domestically which are no required by law to carry a
radio. On April 12, 1996, the FCC released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making in WT Docket No. 96-82, FCC 96-145, asking for
public comment concerning the elimination of the radio station licensing requirement. Pending a final decision in this matter, the FCC
has issued an interim rule temporarily eliminating the individual licensing requirement for recreational ships and private aircraft
operating domestically which are not required by law to carry a radio. The paragraphs below describe how the proposed and interim
rules affect the public.
DO I NEED A LICENSE TO OPERATE A RADIO IN MY SHIP OR AIRCRAFT?
Until further notice from the FCC, you do not need an individual license to operate certain radio equipment on board recreational shipsand private aircraft operating domestically.
WHICH SHIPS AND AIRCRAFT ARE INCLUDED?
The term “recreational ships” refers to ships that are not required by law to carry a radio. The following types of ships ARE NOT
recreational: · Cargo Ships over 300 gross tons navigating in the open sea; · Ships certified by the U.S.Coast Guard to carry more
than 6 passengers for hire in the open sea or tidewaters of the US; · Power driven ships over 20 meters in length on navigable
waterways; · Ships of more than 100 gross tons certified by the U.S.Coast Guard to carry at least one passenger on navigable
waterways; · Tow boats of more than 7.8 meters in length on navigable waterways; and · Commercial fishing industry vessels with
galley or berthing facilities operating on the high seas -- required by the Coast Guard to carry emergency radio equipment.
The term “private aircraft” refers to aircraft that are not required by law to carry a radio. This includes aircraft weighing less that 12,500 pounds maximum certified takeoff gross weight which are not operated as air carriers.
WHAT IS DOMESTIC OPERATIONS?
Ships operating domestically do not travel to foreign ports or transmit radio communications to foreign stations. Aircraft operating
domestically do not make international flights or transmit radio communications to foreign stations. Sailing in, or flying over,
international waters is permitted, so long as the previous conditions are met.
WHAT RADIO EQUIPMENT MAY I USE?
On board ships, you may use marine VHF radios (EPIRB), and any type of radar. Ships that use MF/HF single side-band radio,
satellite communications, or telegraphy must continue to be licensed by the FCC. On board aircraft, you may use any aviation-band
radio, navigation equipment, or emergency alerting equipment.
SHOULD I APPLY FOR A NEW LICENSE OR RENEW MY CURRENT LICENSE?
If you operate a recreational vessel or a private aircraft domestically, you are not required to apply for a new license or renew your
current license at this time. If the individual licensing requirement is not eliminated, sufficient time will be provided for obtaining
SHOULD I CANCEL MY LICENSE FOR ASK FOR A FEE REFUND?
There is no need to cancel your license, return it to the FCC, or request a refund at this time. In the event that the licensing
requirement is permanently eliminated, the FCC will issue guidelines concerning license cancellation procedures.
WHAT OPERATING PROCEDURES SHOULD I FOLLOW?
Even though a station license may no longer be required, you must continue to follow the operating procedures for calling other
stations, maintaining a safety watch, and relaying distress messages as specified in the FCC Rules. You may identify your ship
station over the air using your current FCC issued call sign or the name of your vessel. Similarly, you may identify your aircraft using
the “N” number of your aircraft.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THE COAST GUARD BOARDS MY SHIP?
On April 12, 1996, the FCC asked the US Coast Guard to suspend enforcement activities related to recreational ship radio licensing
while the FCC considers the elimination of the licensing requirement.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT THE FCC’s FINAL DECISION?
Presently, the FCC is receiving hundreds of phone inquiries each day asking for updated information on this topic. To better serve the
public, the FCC has set up a toll-free Customer Assistance Hot Line with a recorded message explaining the latest FCC decisions in
the proceeding. Simply dial (800)322-1117, press the number “2”, then press the number “1”.