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Apply to operate AIS in maritime mobile band

This business operating procedure is to operate an automatic identification system (AIS) in the VHF maritime mobile band.

AIS frequencies in the VHF maritime mobile band

Internationally, AIS uses 2 dedicated frequencies in the VHF maritime mobile band:

  • 161.975 MHz (AIS 1)
  • 162.025 MHz (AIS 2)

We have allocated these frequencies in line with Article 5 and Appendix 18 of the ITU Radio Regulations.

For frequency coordination, we treat AIS and AIS AtoN stations as single frequency VHF land mobile services. The coordination criteria are in RALI LM 08 - Land Mobile Service.

Apply to operate AIS or AIS AtoN stations

You need to apply to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) to operate:

  • shore-based AIS stations
  • fixed or floating AIS AtoNs

We only accept licence applications from AMSA or an accredited person (AP) on behalf of AMSA. We are not able to pass your application forms to AMSA.

Once AMSA approves your application, it needs a technical assessment. This assessment can be done:

  • by us, when AMSA sends us your approved application
  • by an accredited person who submits a copy of AMSA’s approval with the frequency assignment certificate (FAC). We cannot process the FAC without this approval

We issue AMSA with a Maritime Coast (Limited Coast Assigned System) licence. This allows the station to operate. The AMSA then issues a third-party authorisation to the applicant.

We may authorise AIS AtoNs as supplementary stations under the AIS shore station licence. They must be within the nominal service area (40 kilometres) of an AIS shore-based station. In this case, a group of AIS AtoNs only requires one limited assigned system station licence.

To operate an AtoN outside the nominal service area, you must have a separate Maritime Coast (Limited Coast Assigned System) licence.

Permission to operate Australian ship-borne AIS stations is given under:

Aircraft stations do not need an individual licence. They can use AIS frequencies under the Radiocommunications (Aircraft and Aeronautical Mobile Stations) Class Licence 2016.

About Automatic Identifications Systems

AIS is a very high frequency (VHF) radio communication system. It enables vessels, shore-based stations and distress equipment to exchange information including:

  • ship position
  • course and speed
  • safety-related messaging

AIS has multiple uses:

  • Aircraft can use AIS for search and rescue operations or other safety-related communications.
  • It can help make shipping and ports safer and more efficient to manage.
  • It can raise awareness of the maritime domain by shore authorities.
  • It can be an ‘aid to navigation’ (AtoN), providing information about location and objects, such as navigation buoys and beacons.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) manages AIS deployments around the Australian coast. AMSA is the Federal Government’s maritime regulator.

Who to contact with questions


The Business Operating Procedure Disclaimer applies to this process.

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