Friday, May 2, 2008

FCC License Required for Marine VHF Radio

We recently learned during our US Power Squadron boating course that when boating in Canada (or any foreign port for that matter), you need an FCC License for your marine VHF radio. Technically, you need a Ship Station License and you need an Operator's Permit.

This wasn't welcome news because we still remember the FCC license process from purchasing a set of GMRS walkie-talkies several years ago. Sort of a combination of the worst features of IRS tax forms, Windows Vista "stability" and wireless router "documentation".

"Frustrating" doesn't begin to describe that experience.

I was really hoping the application process had improved over the years. A quick internet search didn't yield much hope though. I found that there are third party sites that will submit the application for you - for a fee. If people are willing to pay someone else, well, it can't be easy, right?

Luckily, I also found a really useful blog entry that described one person's experience with the license process and gave some clear and easily understood directions. As it turns out, this is very simple. Somewhere along the way the FCC put together an incredibly easy process for applying for these licenses online.

I submitted the application last Saturday using the FCC's simple on-line forms. The costs were $160 for the Ship License and $60 for the operator permit (I think).

Would you believe they came in the mail yesterday? Just like that.

Kudos to the FCC for making it so easy! And thank you All About Boats . . . So it Goes . . . for the easy-to-understand directions.


nl1990 said...

hey are you guys going to see the manatees? are you taking diane?


All the best! said...

Glad that my post helped. I was surprised how easy the FCC license was to get. They were even nice and helpful on the telephone.

All the best!
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