You can use maritime radio frequencies to communicate with other vessels, maritime coast stations and overseas port authorities.

You can apply for your ship licence online, or ask a
Maritime Approved Radio Examiner (ARX) to apply on your behalf. You’ll get a unique callsign and Maritime Mobile Service Identifier (MMSI) number assigned to your vessel — if you don't have one already. This helps to identify your vessel, especially in an emergency.

This licence also covers the operation of any INMARSAT satellite, radar and radio telex equipment that you may have on board.

$150.00 per year

Additional costs:

A radio operator's examination fee, agreed between you and your ARX.

Operator qualifications

The radio operator on board your vessel must hold a valid maritime radio operator’s certificate to operate maritime radio equipment.

To get this, contact an Maritime Approved Radio Examiner (ARX).

With this licence you must:

Follow the terms, conditions and restrictions of the licence, which includes operating on the correct maritime frequencies or frequency ranges.

Not operate in a way that causes interference to other radio services.

Ensure that the radio operator holds a valid Maritime Radio Operator’s Certificate of Competency.

Pay the annual licence fee. If this is not paid, we will convert the licence to a callsign-only record, and your Ship licence - voluntary will no longer be valid.

Your equipment:

Must be compliant with the relevant radio standards and the relevant technical parameters for this licence.

Product compliance Gazette Notices

If you bought it:

  • in New Zealand and it’s labelled with an RSM approved RCM mark or R-NZ label you can start using it immediately
  • online or overseas, you may not be able to set up to operate on New Zealand frequencies. You need to go back to your supplier and ask for equipment with an approved RCM mark or R-NZ label

If your equipment is not labelled with an RCM mark or R-NZ label, you need to go back to your supplier and get New Zealand-approved equipment.


  1. Pay your licence fee.

    You'll be prompted to pay the annual licence fee after the application is submitted. Once you've paid this fee, your licence will be granted and you can view your it in the RRF.

  2. If you want a paper copy of your licence...

    Some overseas port authorities don’t recognise online licences held in the RRF. If you want a paper copy of your licence to show overseas port authorities, contact us on