The FCC requires a Marine Radio Operator Permit to operate radiotelephone stations aboard certain vessels that sail the Great Lakes. The Marine Radio Operator Permit is also required to operate radiotelephone stations aboard vessels of more than 300 gross tons or on vessels that carry more than six passengers for hire in the open sea or any tidewater area of the United States. You’re also required to have the Marine Radio Operator Permit to operate certain aviation radiotelephone stations and certain coast radiotelephone stations.

Here’s a chart to help you decide if you need to have the Marine Radio Operator Permit:

Do any of the following apply to you?

  • Is your vessel than 300 gross tons and required by law to carry a radio station?
  • Is your vessel greater than 20 meters in length and sailing on the Great Lakes?
  • Is your vessel greater than eight meters in length and engaged in towing on the Great Lakes?
  • Does your vessel carry more than six passengers for hire in the open sea or any tidewater area
    of the United States?
  • Does your vessel operate radios on medium frequencies (MF) or high frequencies (HF)?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then you are required to have a Marine Radio Operator Permit.

Qualifications

To qualify, you must:

  • Be a legal resident of (or otherwise eligible for employment in) the United States; and
  • Be able to receive and transmit spoken messages in English; and
  • Pass a written and/or telegraphy examination(s) as described below.

To get your Marine Radio Operator Permit you must pass the FCC Element 1 exam, which covers basic radio law and operating practice with which every maritime radio operator should be familiar. To pass, you must correctly answer at least 18 out of 24 questions.

If you desire the Ship Radar Endorsement for this license, you must complete the FCC Element 8 exam.

Term of License

A Marine Radio Operator Permit is issued for the holder’s lifetime.

How to Take the Exam

There are two ways to take the exam:

  1. Online Exam. This method allows you to take the exam from any location that has internet access using our remote proctored exam process. To take the exam, you must complete the online registration form found at the end of this page and pay your fee. Once you are registered and your payment has been received, you will be sent a link to the exam. You may take the exam at home, at work, or anywhere you have an undisturbed space that our remote proctor can observe via your webcam. Please see our online exam requirements here.
  2. Test Center-Administered Exam. This method allows you to take the exam with a live proctor at any of our 190 global test centers. You will need to select a test center during the registration process. After you have registered, you will receive information on how to schedule your exam date and time. Please note that if you select this exam method, you are responsible for paying the proctor fee directly to the test center. This fee is not included in the exam fee collected by iNARTE Exemplar Global. Please see our test-center-administered exam requirements here.

Regardless of the method selected, your test results will be available to you immediately following the conclusion of the exam.

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