A shipboard radio station includes all the transmitting and receiving equipment installed aboard a ship for communications afloat. Depending on the size, purpose, or destination of a ship, its radio station must meet certain requirements established by law or treaty.
On October 25, 1996, the FCC released a Report and Order in WT Docket No. 96-82, 11 FCC Rcd 14849, FCC 96-421 (pdf
), eliminating the individual licensing requirement for voluntary ships operating domestically which are not required by law to carry a radio.
The FCC rules require certain vessels to be equipped with radio equipment for safety purposes. These rules are in accordance with international agreements. The GMDSS replaces the older "Morse code" based safety system. Learn more about the FCC's GMDSS regulations: