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Marine Radio Qualifications

Important Update

After 20 years of utilising an efficient paper-based exam system, OMC will be transitioning to an online examination system for the delivery of marine radio assessments which will be available from 11th July 2022

There will be quite a few benefits to utilising an online examination system:

  • Results released upon completion of the exam

  • Less paperwork for Invigilators to request and return exams

  • No posting/return of exam papers Australia wide

  • Environmentally friendly; reduction in paper usage and packaging materials

  • Candidates can use laptops or tablets to answer questions

  • Multiple versions of exams so candidates in the same venue will get different questions

The role of the invigilator remains unchanged. 

Invigilators remain an important part of the examination process and are required to be present and observe candidates undertaking the assessment and ensure exam integrity.  Practical assessments are still required to be completed and submitted

We understand that not everyone will be ready to move to the new system straight away.  Paper exams will remain available for use through the normal ordering process until 31st December 2022; however, by January 2023 all examinations will be conducted online 

Do I really need a Marine Radio Licence?
The Australian Radio Communications Act 1992 specifies that it is a legal requirement that If you use a VHF or HF radio on board your boat then the operator of that radio must hold an Operator’s Certificate of Proficiency.

Both the Short Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (SROCP) and Long Range Operator Certificate of Proficiency (LROCP) courses are based on ACMA requirements. 

The course is delivered by those who are experienced radio operators with emergency & commercial radio backgrounds


What are the benefits?

Ability to use your radio regularly and enjoy the extra safety it provides

Confidence that you know what you’re doing and sound as if you do
The skill to use your radio in an emergency when every second counts
Top value for a hands-on course delivered by volunteers

Your fee supports our organisation and you will learn the following

Marine Radio Frequencies

Marine Radio Equipment

Marine Radio Procedures

Power Supplies

Digital Selective Calling (DSC)

Use of Marine Repeater Channels

For Individuals $150 For Pensions/Groups/ Non-profit discounts are available

Minimum prescribed age in years - 16

All we need from you is your Exam Fee, a Passport-sized & quality photo of yourself
Most importantly bring a Pen and Paper for notes

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 qualifications or endorsements 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:


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

Certificate & age in years

AWQ: None

LROCP:  16 Years

SROCP: 16 Years

Satcom: 16 Years

GMDSS GOCP: 18 Years

GMDSS 1st-class REC: 18 Years

GMDSS 2nd-class REC: 18 Years


Overseas qualifications

If you have a recognised overseas qualification, you don't need to get a new one in Australia.

A list of overseas qualifications that are recognised is listed in the Radiocommunications (Qualified Operators) Determination 2016.


If a certificate is cancelled

In special circumstances, a certificate of proficiency may be cancelled.

The ACMA will tell you in writing if they plan to cancel your certificate.

You can also ask for a review of their decision.

Need more info? Hit the live chat button

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