Maritime Mobile Service

History: In the early 1900s, sailors realized that radio would be a boon to sailing if they could communicate with shore from a long distance away. Now most boats and ships have a marine radio that could be used to call Mayday (Distress) or communicate with any port. These are even used on the Missouri river for boats and ships to call the canal operators.

License Needed: None needed for personal use and smaller commercial boats. A license will be needed for any boat or ship over a certain tonnage, travels to a foreign port, or needs to communication internationally.

Use: Personal or Business

Range: Depends on antenna height and power. Can be up to 62 miles between two tall commercial ships.

Equipment needed: Any Make or Model of a Marine Radio that is certified by the FCC under Part 80 of the regulations. You can check a radio’s certification by looking in the FCC online database.

Antenna: Attached or Detached Antenna depending if the radio is a handheld or mobile type radio. Antennas are typically placed on a sailmast or off the highest mounting point on a boat or ship.

Output: Maximum 25 Watts

Modulation: Frequency Modulation (FM), Narrowband Frequency Modulation (FMN) and Data

Frequencies: 80-120 channels. Some frequencies are common internationally, some are country specific. Some are voice channels, some are data channels.

Emergency Channel: Channel 16 is the International Distress Calling Channel.

New ChannelOld ChannelTransmit FreqencyReceive FrequencyUse
100101A156.050156.050Port Operations and Commercial, VTS. Available only in New Orleans / Lower Mississippi area.
100505A156.250156.250Port Operations or VTS in the Houston, New Orleans and Seattle areas.
0606156.300156.300Intership Safety
100707A156.350156.350Commercial. VDSMS
0808156.400156.400Commercial (Intership only). VDSMS
0909156.450156.450Boater Calling. Commercial and Non-Commercial. VDSMS
1010156.500156.500Commercial. VDSMS
1111156.550156.550Commercial. VTS in selected areas. VDSMS
1212156.600156.600Port Operations. VTS in selected areas.
1313156.650156.650Intership Navigation Safety (Bridge-to-bridge). Ships >20m length maintain a listening watch on this channel in US waters.
1414156.700156.700Port Operations. VTS in selected areas.
1515--156.750Environmental (Receive only). Used by Class C EPIRBs.
1616156.800156.800International Distress, Safety and Calling. Ships required to carry radio, USCG, and most coast stations maintain a listening watch on this channel.
1717156.850156.850State & local govt maritime control
101818A156.900156.900Commercial. VDSMS
101919A156.950156.950Commercial. VDSMS
2020157.000161.600Port Operations (duplex)
102020A157.000157.000Port Operations
102121A157.050157.050U.S. Coast Guard only
102222A157.100157.100Coast Guard Liaison and Maritime Safety Information Broadcasts. Broadcasts announced on channel 16.
102323A157.150157.150U.S. Coast Guard only
2424157.200161.800Public Correspondence (Marine Operator). VDSMS
2525157.250161.850Public Correspondence (Marine Operator). VDSMS
2626157.300161.900Public Correspondence (Marine Operator). VDSMS
2727157.350161.950Public Correspondence (Marine Operator). VDSMS
2828157.400162.000Public Correspondence (Marine Operator). VDSMS
106363A156.175156.175Port Operations and Commercial, VTS. Available only in New Orleans / Lower Mississippi area.
106565A156.275156.275Port Operations
106666A156.325156.325Port Operations
6767156.375156.375Commercial. Used for Bridge-to-bridge communications in lower Mississippi River. Intership only.
6868156.425156.425Non-Commercial. VDSMS
6969156.475156.475Non-Commercial. VDSMS
7070156.525156.525Digital Selective Calling (voice communications not allowed)
7171156.575156.575Non-Commercial. VDSMS
7272156.625156.625Non-Commercial (Intership only). VDSMS
7373156.675156.675Port Operations
7474156.725156.725Port Operations
7777156.875156.875Port Operations (Intership only)
107878A156.925156.925Non-Commercial. VDSMS
107979A156.975156.975Commercial. Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only. VDSMS
108080A157.025157.025Commercial. Non-Commercial in Great Lakes only. VDSMS
108181A157.075157.075U.S. Government only - Environmental protection operations.
108282A157.125157.125U.S. Government only
108383A157.175157.175U.S. Coast Guard only
8484157.225161.825Public Correspondence (Marine Operator). VDSMS
8585157.275161.875Public Correspondence (Marine Operator). VDSMS
8686157.325161.925Public Correspondence (Marine Operator). VDSMS
8787157.375157.375Public Correspondence (Marine Operator). VDSMS
8888157.425157.425Commercial, Intership only. VDSMS
AIS 1AIS 1161.975161.975Automatic Identification System (AIS)
AIS 2AIS 2162.025162.025Automatic Identification System (AIS)