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Old 04-09-2011, 17:29   #1
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Canadian VHF License for US

is there a certificate that can be found on the internet and printed for a Canadian entering the US. If so can you point to the website. We have the call sign and mmsi, is that enough. That we have printed from Industry Canada, put is not a "Certificate".

Trying to help a friend here in Sydney, BC.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 04-09-2011, 17:49   #2
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Re: Canadian vhf license for US

I 'spose there may be something, but not heard of it. Not sure anyone is really caring or listening to vhf conversation. (although I doubt the fcc would admit it) I cant remember the last time I heard a call sign, sometimes dont even hear a boat name on the air. Hasnt the US done away with VHF licensing for the average user?
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Old 04-09-2011, 17:56   #3
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Re: Canadian vhf license for US

There is no longer a license (or call sign) requirement for marine VHF radio in the US.
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Old 04-09-2011, 19:09   #4
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Re: Canadian vhf license for US

True that US boats don't need a ship's radio station license if the private recreational vessel stays within US Waters. Same with Canada, if the Canadian private recreational vessel remains in Canadian waters it does not need a Ship's radio station license.
- - But - if either vessel departs its home country's waters it must have a ship's radio station license. Specifically for Canada:
". . . you might seriously consider applying for a maritime radio station licence for your boat. It's not necessary for Canadian pleasure craft in Canadian waters, but as soon as you cross the border into the USA, or into any foreign country without a reciprocal maritime radio operating agreement, it is a requirement. Below, you will find the application form for the station licence for your boat. Your vessel will be assigned a unique alphanumerical radio call sign."
See: Station Licence Requirments for foreign waters

- - Don't forget that also when you take your private recreational vessel to a foreign country at least one person on board must also have a "personal radiotelephone operators permit" or the Canadian equivalent.
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Old 04-09-2011, 19:27   #5
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Re: Canadian vhf license for US

Yep, thats correct Osirissail. VHF station licences are required when crossing into the US or Canada. I heard this old rule was to be done away with, but after 911 it was just left as it is. I have no idea if anyone REALLY checks this but you never know these days.
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Old 04-09-2011, 19:53   #6
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Wink Re: Canadian vhf license for US

thanks Osirissail,
My friend received an email with the mmsi , but no license number. We were able to retrieve a profile for him online with the mmsi and there was his call sign, but again no license number. He did go down last week and fill out the app and the email was the result. We suspect the license is in the mail or soon will be. He is getting anxious a little, wants to get down the coast next week.

We did find the Virtual License sight, but it needs the license number which was not in the email.

Sorry Ziggy, you were incorrect the requirement in the US is for foreign flagged vessels. At least your post number went up.

Sorry Cheechako, "'spose" I do care and listen. Up north where we spent the summer there were many opportunities to assist fellow boaters by listening. Wow over 3000 post, 'spose that's something. LOL.
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Old 04-09-2011, 22:40   #7
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Re: Canadian vhf license for US

You don't require a USA station license....you require a Canadian station license. Same for a USA boat going to a foreign country. You only need this station license, from your home country, when traveling to a foreign country.
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Old 05-09-2011, 04:52   #8
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Re: Canadian VHF License for US

Two things to note here for U.S. vessels (and, maybe, for Canadian as well):

1. the "no-license for VHF" stipulation applies ONLY to U.S. vessels in U.S. waters talking to other U.S. flagged vessels; and

2. if you do communicate with "foreign-flag vessels"....Canadian, European, visiting ships, etc.....even if both you and they are in U.S. waters you need both a ship's station license and an individual commercial radiotelephone operator's permit (at least the Restricted one) to comply with current regulations.

All this is a bit cumbersome, so I find the easiest course is just to go ahead and get the ship's station license and the operator's permit. No test is required, and the license/permit are good for all transmitting equipment aboard -- radar, VHF, HF/SSB, EPIRB, satellite comms, etc., etc.

The ships station license is good for ten years; the operator's permit is good for life. And, under international law they're also good for use anywhere in the world so you don't have to worry if you go abroad.

One other benefit: you get a real MMSI issued by the FCC which goes into the international database. MMSI numbers issued by Boat U.S. and some other organizations in the U.S. DO NOT go into the database.

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Old 05-09-2011, 06:24   #9
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Re: Canadian VHF License for US

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
. . . MMSI numbers issued by Boat U.S. and some other organizations in the U.S. DO NOT go into the database.
Bill
Just a question - where did you get that information from?
- -The BoatUS website information about their MMSI service does not state that the MMSI is not also included in the the USCG database. In fact, the website states that BoatUS is responsible for transmitting the new assigned MMSI to the USCG for inclusion in the database.

"The Role of BoatU.S.:
BoatU.S. has been authorized by both the Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Coast Guard to assign MMSI numbers to vessels with DSC capable radios that are not required by law to carry a radio, and do not make international voyages or communications. BoatU.S. is responsible for relaying the MMSI registration information to the U.S. Coast Guard for search and rescue purposes.
"
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Old 05-09-2011, 06:40   #10
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Re: Canadian VHF License for US

Yes, they pass it to the U.S. Coast Guard "for search and rescue purposes", but NOT to the ITU international database, so anyone other than the U.S. Coast Guard will not find your MMSI number.

This has been said repeatedly on this and other discussion Boards; we shouldn't have to repeat it, but I guess we do.

By the way, sometimes even the FCC-issued MMSI number doesn't make it into the ITU database until you jog them directly. I had to do that for mine, and I know of at least one other who had to do that also.

The ITU database is here:

Particulars of Ship stations

Bill
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Old 05-09-2011, 07:04   #11
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Re: Canadian vhf license for US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herbseesmoore View Post
Sorry Ziggy, you were incorrect the requirement in the US is for foreign flagged vessels. At least your post number went up.
You're right--it didn't occur to me that the no license requirement applies only to U.S. flagged vessels. I suppose this means I must get an FCC license for my VHF and radar to cruise in Canada. I suspect the rate of compliance with this reg is about the same as for day shapes.

See--now I bumped my post number by +2
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:06   #12
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Re: Canadian VHF License for US

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
Yes, they pass it to the U.S. Coast Guard "for search and rescue purposes", but NOT to the ITU international database,. . .

By the way, sometimes even the FCC-issued MMSI number doesn't make it into the ITU database until you jog them directly. I had to do that for mine, and I know of at least one other who had to do that also. . . .
Bill
Great Information. But it gets even worse - - If you get your MMSI from BoatUS (and maybe the Canadian non-governmental outfit) it is a MMSI that is in a "different" format from the ITU (international) format. Here is an excerpt from BoatUS FAQ's -

What is the difference between obtaining an MMSI from the FCC and obtaining a number from BoatUS?

BoatUS MMSI numbers are coded for recreational vessels cruising in U.S. waters only not otherwise required to be licensed; the registrations are downloaded into the U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue Database (MISLE) only. FCC-assigned MMSI numbers are coded for International Waters and go into the International Search & Rescue Database (ITU). In order to be accepted into the ITU database, any FCC assigned MMSI must end in zero. This is why the BoatUS MMSI number cannot be re-used when later applying for an FCC License for international cruising.

- - Whether FCC issued MMSI's actually make it into the ITU database appears to be a "process problem" between the FCC and ITU. So checking to see if your FCC issued MMSI actually made it into the ITU database is a prudent idea.

- - As to having to repeat ourselves, we both have been around CF long enough to see the same questions or topics repeat themselves frequently and sometimes even concurrently. It is sometimes personally irking but then again one of the things that keeps CF the predominant - IMHO - forum for supposedly cruising folk is the willingness to politely re-provide information and sometimes rather very basic information over and over for the new inquiring minds.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:16   #13
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Re: Canadian VHF License for US

Quote:
Originally Posted by Herbseesmoore View Post
is there a certificate that can be found on the internet and printed for a Canadian entering the US. If so can you point to the website. We have the call sign and mmsi, is that enough. That we have printed from Industry Canada, but is not a "Certificate".

Trying to help a friend here in Sydney, BC.

Thanks in advance.
Ok, back to the original post.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:22   #14
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Re: Canadian VHF License for US

I recently obtained a SHIP STATION LICENSE for my small boat expressly for the purpose of satisfying the station license requirement when we cruise in Canadian water and for getting an MMSI that would be entered into the ITU database.

My MMSI has not appeared yet in the ITU database. The FCC told me they send the data to the ITU on the 15th of each month. Depending on when your MMSI was issued by the FCC, it could be almost two months before it is sent to the ITU. I then suppose the ITU may have a bit of delay in updating their database. There may also be some delay in updating the on-line database (that is linked above) for searching. It seems reasonable to allow two or three months from the time an MMSI is issued by the FCC for the MMSI to appear in the ITU database on-line.

In addition to the question of a STATION LICENSE when operating a US vessel in a foreign port, there is also the matter of an OPERATOR LICENSE. It would appear that at a minimum anyone who operates a VHF Marine Band radio in Canada on board a foreign-flagged vessel would need some sort of operator's license. For a recreational boat it would seem like the RESTRICTED RADIOTELEPHONE OPERATOR PERMIT would suffice.

I agree that enforcement of these rather obscure regulations regarding VHF MARINE BAND radio licensing seems to be quite lax, particularly in Canada, where in 25-years of boating there I have never been personally questioned about this nor heard of anyone else being checked on this.

I don't know how enforcement agencies in the U.S.A. are handling this. I have never seen anyone from the FCC involved in any way with recreational boat radio other than to track down false distress messages. Whether or not some "badge-heavy" Homeland Security Agent is going to come down on a visiting yachtsman for lack of a perfunctory and pro-forma license is speculative.
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Old 05-09-2011, 08:27   #15
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Re: Canadian VHF License for US

I agree that "enforcement" within the USA and probably even Canada is virtually non-existent. The only time I ever had my FCC certificates examined was during a USCG boarding in International waters. After finding everything else on the boat in compliance, I was asked for my FCC licenses - which just also happened to be okay. The final straw was their request to see my "trash plan" which I had since I was a faithful reader of the BoatUS newsletter.
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