Maritime / Ship licences
Ship callsigns – VHF radio
VHF marine radiotelephones may be installed on vessels or used as portable transceivers. They may be used on New Zealand vessels under a General User Radio Licence, which does not require vessels to be individually licensed.
A unique radio callsign is required for each vessel. This can be obtained along with an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identifier) number from an approved radio examiner (ARX).
Operators of marine radiotelephones are required by their Licence to have an appropriate radio operator qualification. The courses and examinations are available nation-wide from an ARX.
Ship licences and callsign allocation
A full ship radio station licence is required for vessels to be listed in the ITU-R List of ship stations.
The chart below shows the various parties who allocate callsigns. Callsigns are allocated in accordance with ITU-R and IMO provisions.
Note| The majority of VHF only callsign series are not recorded on Radio Spectrum Managements online register of Radio Frequencies (SMART) but are administered by Coastguard.
VHF & MMSI
Coastguard Boating Education
|May issue callsigns as prescribed in PIB46|
|May issue callsigns as prescribed in PIB46|
Ship licences – commercial vessels
Requirements for radio operators on commercial vessels will vary depending on the radio equipment installed, number of passengers and requirements of current safety legislation. Owners should approach their Safe Ship Management Company or the Maritime New Zealand (Ph: 0508 22 55 22) for further advice.
Information on the use of maritime frequencies in New Zealand for safety in particular can be sourced from the Maritime New Zealand and New Zealand Nautical Almanac.
Ship licences – MF/HF
MF/HF marine radiotelephones installed on New Zealand vessels are operated under a General User Radio Licence, which does not require vessels to be licensed individually. MF/HF call signs along with an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identifier) number can be obtained from ARX’s.
Operators of marine radio equipment must hold an appropriate operator’s certificate, available from an ARX.
Vessels travelling overseas
Vessel operators that travel outside New Zealand waters may have difficulty convincing foreign Maritime authorities that they hold a valid radio licence if operating a callsign under the General User Radio Licence for Maritime purposes Notice 2007. In these circumstances, you can choose to hold an individual licence and present a paper copy of this radio licence to foreign officials.
An annual fee will apply.
Application for a Maritime Ship licence for a vessel travelling overseas can be made online or contact an approved radio engineer or certifier (ARE/ARC) or an ARX to apply for the licence on your behalf.
You may change between a call sign record and an individual licence (or vice-versa) at any time. Simply contact RSM on Freephone 0508 RSM INFO (0508 776 463), or by email to RSMLicensing@mbie.govt.nz. If you are changing from a call sign record to an individual licence, an annual administration fee applies.
Callsign series allocated by Radio Spectrum Management to individually licensed vessels are stipulated in the appendix of PIB46. You can search certificates and callsigns in the online Register of Radio Frequencies (SMART).
- General User Radio Licence for Maritime purposes) Notice 2007
- ARE / ARC
- List of ARX
- PIB 46
- Search certificates and callsigns
Most VHF Coast Stations are able to operate under the provisions of the General User Radio Licence, which does not require stations to be individually licensed.
Stations individually licenced:
All MF/HF Coast Stations.
All VHF Coast Stations that are remotely accessed. These Coast Stations are typically located on a high point to extend the coverage of the Coast Station and linked by a UHF fixed link or a landline to the radio operator.
Contact an approved radio engineer or certifier (ARE/ARC) to apply for land based maritime licences and repeater station licences. The callsigns allocated in this series are in accordance with ITU-R and IMO provisions.
VHF coastal / portable radio stations under GURL Callsigns
Callsigns are not issued for VHF only coast radio stations.
For the purposes of station identifiers for stations operating as coastal / portable radio stations under the General User Radio Licence the station is to be identified by the choice of the operator based on local terrain or geographic reference.
For example a coast station established around Flat point may be known as “Flat Point Coast Station”. There may also be a portable operating in the same area but not associated with the ‘Coast’ station, this may be known as “Portable Coast Station at Flat Point”. This may include the user group formed to maintain the station for example “Castle point user association Coast Radio”
The use of a callsign as per PIB 46 is not determined for these stations, while callsigns are prescribed for individually licensed stations, and do appear on the licence.
Most radar and other navigation equipment acting as a transmitter on vessels and radio buoys are covered by the Licence which covers the operation of the radio equipment on board the vessel in New Zealand waters.
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