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Marine radio qualifications

You must be qualified to operate a marine radio. There are 7 types of qualification.

Levels of qualification

The qualification you need depends on the type of maritime station you are operating.

This is to make sure that you know how to use radio equipment safely, including correct marine radio protocols and procedures.

There are 7 types of qualification or endorsement issued to operators of marine radios:

  1. Australian Waters Qualification (AWQ) – the AWQ is ideal for casual boaters who only need to operate a marine radio in Australian waters (within 12 nautical miles of the coast)
  2. Long Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (LROCP) 
  3. Short Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (SROCP)
  4. Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) General Operators Certificate of Proficiency (GOCP)
  5. GMDSS First-Class Radio Electronic Certificate (1st-Class REC)
  6. GMDSS Second-Class Radio Electronic Certificate (2nd-Class REC)
  7. Marine Satellite Communications Endorsement (MSCE also known as Satcom).

Aviation radio qualifications are not recognised as being equivalent to any marine radio operator’s qualification.

Minimum qualification for a maritime coast licence

To operate a station with VHF or 27 MHz equipment, you must have one of these:

  • AWQ (you can operate only within Australian Territorial Waters).

To operate a station with HF equipment, you must have a:

  • LROCP.

To operate a limited coast station with Inmarsat B or C satellite equipment, you must have one of these:

  • LROCP with Satcom
  • SROCP with Satcom.

To operate a major coast A or B station, you must have one of these:

  • GOCP
  • 1st-class REC
  • 2nd-class REC.

You must hold these qualifications even if your station has digital selective calling equipment.

You do not need a Satcom certificate if you only use Inmarsat-M or Inmarsat-C equipment for a vessel monitoring system.

How to get qualified

The Australian Maritime College (AMC) at the University of Tasmania manages these exams in Australia:

  • Satcom.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) manages these exams in Australia:

  • GOCP
  • 1st-class REC
  • 2nd-class REC.

If you pass the exam, the AMC or AMSA will give you a certificate.

Ask the AMC or AMSA about:

When you have the appropriate qualification, you can operate a marine radio under the Radiocommunications (Maritime Ship Station — 27 MHz and VHF) Class Licence 2015.

Minimum age to get qualified


Age in years

AWQ None









GMDSS 1st-class REC


GMDSS 2nd-class REC


Overseas qualifications

If you have an overseas qualification that we recognise, you don't need to get a new qualification in Australia.

A list of overseas qualifications that we recognise is in the Radiocommunications (Qualified Operators) Determination 2016.

If we cancel a certificate

In special circumstances, we may cancel a certificate of proficiency.

We will tell you in writing if we plan to cancel your certificate. You can ask us to review our decision.

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