Marine Radio Operator Permit (MP)

Marine Radio Operator Permit (MP)

You need a commercial radio operator license to operate the following:

  • Ship radio stations if:
    • the vessel carries more than six passengers for hire; or
    • the radio operates on medium or high frequencies; or
    • the ship sails to foreign ports; or
    • the ship is larger than 300 gross tons and is required to carry a radio station for safety purposes.
  • Coast stations which operate on medium or high frequencies, or operate with more than 1,500 watts of peak envelope power.
  • International fixed public radiotelephone and radiotelegraph stations.
    Coast and ship stations transmitting radiotelegraphy.

You do NOT need a commercial radio operator license to operate the following:

  • Coast stations operating on VHF frequencies with 250 watts or less of carrier power.
  • Ship stations operating only on VHF frequencies while sailing on domestic voyages.


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 examination.

Term of License

The Marine Radio Operator’s Permit license term is for a period of five (5) years. These licenses may be renewed from anytime within the last 90 days of their term up to five years following expiration without having to re-take an examination. After the five year grace period expires, applicants must retake the requisite written and/or telegraphy examination(s). An expired certificate is not valid for any radio operations.

To learn details and register to take the examination, contact the following qualified examination center:


Phone: (800) 211-2753

The examination center is located at 60 Barrett Drive, Webster, NY 14580.

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