Applying for an MMSI License
A Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) is a 9-digit number used to identify a ship radio. If you’re a US boater and plan on traveling to or communicating with a foreign port, you can get an MMSI number by applying for a ship station license through the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). However, if you’re a domestic boater and don’t plan on communicating with foreign ports, you may still want an MMSI. This number allows you to make emergency calls from your boat and can be a real lifesaver. Boat organizations authorized by the FCC and US Coast Guard assign MMSIs to recreational boaters.
Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit
At least one person on each vessel sailing or communicating internationally must have a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit. This requirement is in addition to the requirement to have a ship radio station license for the vessel. No Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit is required to operate VHF radio equipment on board a vessel when that vessel is sailing domestically. You may obtain a Restricted Permit using FCC Form 605. No test is required to obtain this permit. The permit when issued will be valid for your lifetime. The fee for a Restricted Permit is in addition to any fee paid for a ship license.
Applications for Fleet Licenses
- A certification must be attached stating that none of the vessels in the fleet use DSC (Digital Selective Calling) or AIS (Automatic Identification System) equipment.
- If any of the vessels are using DCS or AIS equipment, you will need to apply for a single license for that vessel to obtain an MMSI, or contact a private registration agent to obtain an MMSI if the vessel is licensed by rule. NOTE: domestic MMSI numbers cannot be issued to a fleet; they can only be issued to individual vessels.
Please Note: Per Public Notice DA 15-72, the FCC no longer mails license authorizations. If you provide an email address on your application, a link to print your official copy of your license will be automatically emailed to you when the application is granted.
How to File an Application for Ship Station License in Universal Licensing System (ULS)
Log into the ULS
Go to the ULC system and log in with your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password.
- If you do not have an FRN, you can register for one here: https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do or by clicking the “Register with the FCC” link under the Submit button on the Log In page.
- If you do not know your FRN, you can search for it by entering your call sign here: https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsApp/UlsSearch/searchLicense.jsp or by clicking the “Check your licenses” link under the submit button on the Log In page.
- If you do not know the password:
- Click on the Contact Tech Support link under the Submit button on the Log In page.
- On the next page, click the “Error! Filename not specified” link and follow the prompts for resetting the password.
- After receiving confirmation of a successful password reset, click the link for Universal Licensing System (DO NOT click the CORES Public Interface link.)
- Click the yellow ULS License Manager button to return to the Log In page.
- Enter the FRN and password and click the Submit button.
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Complete the Ship Station License Application
- Now that you are logged into the ULS, click the Apply for a New License link on the left side of the page.
- Choose “SA or SB – Ship” from the radio service drop down list. Based upon your answers to questions during the application, ULS will automatically determine the correct radio service code (SA/SB). Click Continue to navigate through the application.
- On the Assigned Call Sign page, only answer Yes if the vessel has already been issued a four-letter call sign. If the call sign contains more than 4 characters or contains any numbers, then you should answer this question as No.
- On the Compulsory Questions page, you must answer the “Are you required by law or treaty to carry a radio on your vessel?” question with Yes to obtain a “Ship Compulsory Equipped (SB)” license. If you answer this question as No, you will receive a “Ship Recreational or Voluntarily Equipped (SA)” license.
- On the Ship License Type page, only select “Portable” if you can provide justification for the use of a single transmitter from two or more ships. This could authorize various types of marine radio equipment to be carried from ship to ship.
- Also on the Ship License Type page, only select “Fleet” if you can certify that none of the vessels in the fleet are using DSC (Digital Selective Calling) or AIS (Automatic Identification System) equipment. Use the Attachments link at the top of the page to upload that certification.
- On the Ship Radio Requirement Categories page (which is only displayed if you answered Yes to the “Are you required by law or treaty to carry a radio on your vessel” question), only answer Question A as “Yes” if the vessel is 1600 or more gross tons AND carrying more than 12 passengers: Error! Filename not specified.
- Also on the Ship Radio Requirement Categories page, you must answer one of the questions on this page as Yes to obtain a “Ship Compulsory Equipped (SB)” license. If you answer all of these questions as No, you will receive a “Ship Recreational or Voluntarily Equipped (SA)” license.
- On the Summary page, review your application and click the Continue to Certify button to continue.
- On the Certification page, sign your application by typing your name in the boxes provided and click the Submit button.
- The ULS will calculate the fees. Fees for online filing MUST be received within 10 calendar days of the filing.
- Click the Continue For Payment Options button to choose the method of payment.
Further information regarding Ship Station licenses can be found at https://www.fcc.gov/ship-radio-stations
The Rules that govern Ship Station licenses can be found under 47 CFR – Part 80 and are accessible at the following website: https://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/text-idx?tpl=/ecfrbrowse/Title47/47tab_02.tpl
Downloading Authorizations in ULS
After your application is granted, you may download an official copy of your license from the License Manager by following the steps below:
1. Go to https://wireless2.fcc.gov/UlsEntry/licManager/login.jsp to log in with your FCC Registration Number (FRN) and password.
2. On the License Manager home page, click the “Download Electronic Authorizations” link on the menu on the left side.
3. In the My Authorizations box at the bottom of the page, select the call sign(s) you wish to download.
4. Add the call signs to the Authorizations to Download box by clicking the Add button.
5. When you have added all the call signs needed, click the Download button in the lower right-hand corner of the page.
The download will be automatically converted to a PDF file, and you can choose to Open (to print) or Save (to save to a desired folder).
If you have any further questions or need additional information, please submit a help request at https://www.fcc.gov/available-support-services or call the FCC Licensing Support Center at (877) 480-3201.