FCC Station License/MMSI# Requirement

by National Marine Electronics Association

846 Ritchie Highway, L4, Severna Park, MD USA 21146
410-975-9425 info@nmea.org

This notification only applies to US registered or documented vessels. If your vessel is NOT US registered or documented you must apply for MMSI # from your flag state/country. If you are required by law or treaty to carry a radio on your vessel you are required to have MMSI #.

This is to advise you of the possible need for an FCC Station license & MMSI#. The MMSI # is required for ALL AIS transponders to transmit your identity over the air. If you are a US documented or registered vessel and are required to have MMSI # then you are also required to have an FCC Ship Station License & Restricted Radio Operators Permit.

Ships operating domestically that do not travel to foreign ports (i.e. Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and British Virgin Islands), do not use marine radio equipment on board the vessel other than Marine VHF radios, EPIRBs or radar (SSB or satellite communications) and do not carry more than six passengers for hire on the Great Lakes, bays, tidewaters or in the open sea are NOT required to have a Ship Station License or Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit. These vessels would be able to legally obtain an MMSI# from domestic outlets such as Boat U.S. or Sea Tow.

To determine if you require an FCC Ship Radio Station License, answer the following questions:
  1. Are you required by law or treaty to carry a radio on your vessel?
  2. Does your vessel travel to foreign ports? (Canada, Mexico, Bahamas and BVI included)
  3. Do you have marine radio equipment on board your vessel other than marine VHF radios, EPIRBs (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon), or radar? (Such as SSB or Satellite communications)
If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you must apply for a FCC Ship Radio Station License. If you answered “No” to all of these questions, then you do not require an FCC Ship Radio Station license and can acquire the MMSI# from Boat U.S. or Sea Tow.

Electronic Filing:
  • Log in to http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls with your FCC Registration Number
  • (FRN) and password
  • On the left-side of the screen, click Apply for a New License
  • From the drop down box, select the Radio Service for the new license Choose SA or SB- Ship
  • Click Continue to navigate through the application
  • Sign your application and click Submit Application by typing your first and last name in the name fields you have signed your application
  • ULS will calculate those fees. Fees for online filing MUST be received within 10 calendar days of the filing. Click Continue for Payment Options button to make selection of Pay By Credit Card or View Form 159.
Filing a Paper Form: