Apply for or vary a maritime radio licence

28 February 2017

Maritime radio enables ship stations to communicate with each other and with shore stations, primarily for the safety of human life and the protection of vessels.

These licences allow organisations to communicate with their vessels on commercial matters using an individually assigned maritime channel. The channels assigned to this service are UK maritime mobile channels rather than international channels and do not require users to hold a Maritime Radio Operator's Certificate and Authority to Operate.

The licence covers the base stations and any number of associated mobiles being used from ship stations, within a 4km radius of the base station. Individual vessels need not hold a ship radio licence, unless they are fitted with a radio which uses international maritime mobile channels.

At present, the fee for the licence is calculated according to the number of base stations and channels. Channels are assigned subject to availability and to regional conditions.

Coastal Station Radio Area Defined Licence Application PDF, 3.5 MB
Coastal Station Radio Area Defined Licence Variation PDF, 3.4 MB

Coastal Station Radio Technically Assigned or Marina Licence Application PDF, 241.2 KB
Coastal Station Radio Technically Assigned Licence Variation PDF, 270.0 KB

This licence is available to those who operate sailing or yacht clubs, marinas and similar organisations and covers communication concerning the movement and berthing of pleasure crafts and the control of races.

Three channels are available.

Channels M and M2 (157.850 and 161.425 MHz) are simplex channels. As these channels are not international channels, users need not hold a Maritime Radio Operators' Certificate of Competence and Authority to Operate.

Application Form for a Coastal Station Radio Technically Assigned or Marina Licence
PDF, 241.2 KB

This Licence authorises the installation and use of a maritime radio base station on land** for the purposes of training and examination of maritime radio operators.

The terms of this licence restricts use to within the confines of a building. Apparatus must not to be used to transmit outdoors. Transmissions must not radiate beyond the walls of the building in which it is being used.

You are able to apply for and issue this licence immediately online by logging into the Online Licensing System

This licence is available to those who operate ports and harbours. It authorises the use of radio to support port operations and ship movement. This means the use of radio between coast stations and ship stations in or near a port, in which messages relate to the operational handling, the movement and the safety of ships and, in an emergency to the safety of persons.

Coastal Station Radio Technically Assigned or Marina Licence Application PDF, 241.2 KB

DGPS is an example of DGNSS (Global Navigational Satellite System). It is used for more accurate position locating. The DGPS station receives signals from the satellite and as the DGPS station knows its own position accurately (from mapping etc), it is able to derive the error signals (correction) relating to the position derived from the satellite as compared with its true position, the device converts the correction signal from the DGPS station to ships etc.

The ship receives an approximate location for the satellite directly and uses the correction signals for the DGPS station to drive a more accurate position for the ship.

Maritime Navigational Aids and Radar / DGPS Licence Application form (OfW449)
PDF, 171.8 KB

Marine radars are used by ships for collision avoidance and navigation purposes and this is covered by the ship radio licence (see above). Shore based radar (for example Vessel Traffic Centres) is used to track ARPA and provides collision avoidance or traffic regulation of ships in the surveillance area.

The frequencies allocated to the maritime radio Navigational Aids (navaids) are in various bands between 283.5MHz and 9500MHz. They are agreed either on a UK or a world-wide basis.

Licences for both radars and navaids must be extensively coordinated with other users in the UK and overseas.

Maritime Navigational Aids and Radar / DGPS Licence Application form (OfW449)
PDF, 171.8 KB

This licence is intended to enable a business to test, repair and/or demonstrate Maritime radio transmitting and/or receiving equipment.

This work may be carried out either at the main place of business of the applicant or on board vessels in the UK (whether or not the vessel is covered by a valid UK Ship Radio Licence) belonging to customers of the licensee. This work may also be carried out at special events such as boat shows, subject to prior notification of Ofcom.

Maritime Radio (Suppliers and Demonstration) licence application form
PDF, 250.6 KB

AIS is a data system whereby ships transmit information relating to the vessel to other AIS stations repetitively and also on interrogation by other AIS stations, thereby making themselves known to other ships and shore stations. They also receive information from other ships and other AIS stations (shore stations etc).

Shore stations transmit their own position information, including the MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity which is a unique nine digit number) and are able to interrogate ships and change the ships reporting rates for example, in response to commands sent.

It is used for the safe navigation of vessels e.g. collision avoidance. The icons of the AIS stations in the vicinity are normally displayed on a live chart (e.g. on board ships and in the shore stations) with labels against each icon detailing information such as MMSI, position, speed over ground, etc thus enabling shore stations (including Ports) to monitor and control traffic and thus aiding ships in collision avoidance.

Automatic Identification Systems (AIS) Licence Application form (OfW450)
PDF, 300.5 KB

Our Spectrum Trading Desk is the first point of contact for more detailed information and clarification on spectrum trading, or if you would like to conduct a trade.  The Desk can be contacted by:

post: Spectrum Trading Desk, Ofcom, Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London SE1 9HA


telephone: 020 7981 3083

fax: 020 7981 3052

Trading guidance notes PDF, 179.5 KB

Application for Spectrum Trading (Lease) (OfW512) PDF, 170.9 KB

Application for Spectrum Trading (OfW206)  PDF, 169.2 KB

Application for Spectrum Trading (Outright Transfer) (OfW437)  PDF, 103.7 KB

Due diligence form PDF, 37.9 KB