(the Operator's License)
Why Have It?
Beyond the legal requirement to hold a VHF license to operate a VHF radio, I think there are several other good reasons. Getting the VHF license means that you actually do know you are capable of operating modern VHF radiotelephone equipment. It means that you know you have a good general knowledge of radiotelephone operating procedures, international regulations applicable to communications between stations, as well as the specific regulations relating to safety of life. It also means that you know you have a practical knowledge of the operation of Global Maritime Distress and Safety System equipment for vessels engaged on voyages within the range of VHF coast stations.
All of these are confidence-builders for when you are out there, alone and have a serious need to use this equipment.
The operator of a VHF radio on a Canadian-flagged vessel must have a VHF license – called an ROC-M (Restricted Operator Certificate – Marine). There is an exam and the subsequent license is issued for life. The course and exam can be taken through a local Canadian Power and Sail Squadron.
In the United States, you are not required to have an operators license. There are 2 exceptions to this. You are required to have a license if:
1.) you will be operating outside of US territorial waters or
2.) you communicate with a foreign-flagged vessel.
The license is obtained from the FCC. It is an application only with no exam. It is valid for life.
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