VHF radio licence may be a thing of the past

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Requirements for VHF marine radio use under ACMA review

VHF radio licence may be a thing of the past
VHF radio licence may be a thing of the past

Changes are in the wind for recreational boaters using marine radio frequencies and in particular VHF radios.

In part two of an ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) review of operator qualifications, the government body says "it has a preference for removing the mandatory requirement for recreational boaters to hold a certificate of proficiency for communications in VHF bands in Australian territorial waters". In other words, if this wish comes true you’ll no longer need that mandatory paperwork.

ACMA’s chairman, Chris Chapman, said a more feasible way of bringing order to the widespread use of VHF marine radios would be to educate operators in correct channel usage and radio protocols. "Boaters would still be able to obtain certificates in proficiency and would still be required to hold a certificate for VHF communications outside Australian territorial waters," said Chapman.

This is the preferred option, he added, and in line with the Federal Government’s deregulation policy. It’s also in line with ACMA’s objective of achieving its "spectrum management objective" although that too is up for grabs. According to ACMA, it would better serve the interests of the boating community if the body responsible for radio certification was one more closely aligned with the marine industry.

In any event, ACMA is keen to hear comments on its latest discussion paper and the deadline for that is February 28, 2011.

Visit www.acma.gov.au to find out more.

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