The GMDSS Radio Operator’s License (DO) qualifies the holder to operate and make some basic equipment adjustments to Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) radio installations. It also confers the operating authority of the Marine Radio Operator Permit (MP).

The GMDSS Radio Operator’s License test is comprised of FCC Element 1 and FCC Element 7.

  • FCC Element 1 — Basic radio law and operating practice with which every maritime radio operator should be familiar. To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 18 out of 24 questions.
  • FCC Element 7 — GMDSS Radio Operating Practices. GMDSS radio operating procedures and practices sufficient to show detailed practical knowledge of the operation of all GMDSS sub-systems and equipment. The exam consists of questions from the following categories: general information, narrow band direct printing, INMARSAT, NAVTEX, digital selective calling, and survival craft. To pass, an examinee must correctly answer at least 75 out of 100 questions.


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 above.

Term of License

A GMDSS Radio Operator’s License is issued for the holder’s lifetime. (Prior to March 25, 2008, the license term for a GMDSS Radio Operator’s License was five years. Any holder of a GMDSS Radio Operator’s License that expired prior to March 25, 2008, must still file an application to renew the license within the five-year grace period after expiration.

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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