General Operations

Each coast station or marine-utility station must acknowledge and receive all calls directed to it by ship or aircraft stations. Such stations are permitted to transmit safety communication to any ship or aircraft station. VHF (156-162 MHz) and AMTS (216-220 MHz) public coast stations may provide fixed or hybrid services on a co-primary basis with mobile operations.

Prohibited Communications


  • False distress or emergency messages.
  • Messages containing obscene, indecent, or profane words or meaning.
  • General calls, signals, or messages on channel 16, except in an emergency or if you are testing your radio (these are messages not addressed to a particular station)

Violating the Rules

If it appears to the FCC that you have violated the Communications Act or the rules, the FCC may send you a written notice of the apparent violation. If the violation notice covers a technical radio standard, you must stop using your radio. You must not use your radio until you have had all the technical problems fixed. You may have to report the results of those tests to the FCC. Test results must be signed by the commercial operator who conducted the test. If the FCC finds that you have willfully or repeatedly violated the Communications Act or the rules, your authorization to use the radio may be revoked and you may be fined or sent to prison.

Limitations on calling

(1) Except when transmitting a general call to all stations for announcing or preceding the transmission of distress, urgency, or safety messages, a coast station must call the particular station(s) with which it intends to communicate.

(2) Coast stations must call ship stations by voice unless it is known that the particular ship station may be contacted by other means such as automatic actuation of a selective ringing or calling device.

(3) Coast stations may be authorized emission for selective calling on each working frequency.

(4) Calling a particular station must not continue for more than one minute in each instance. If the called station does not reply, that station must not again be called for two minutes. When a called station does not reply to a call sent three times at intervals of two minutes, the calling must cease for fifteen minutes. However, if harmful interference will not be caused to other communications in progress, the call may be repeated after three minutes.

(5) A coast station must not attempt to communicate with a ship station that has specifically called another coast station until it becomes evident that the called station does not answer, or that communication between the ship station and the called station cannot be carried on because of unsatisfactory operating conditions.

(6) Calls to establish communication must be initiated on an available common working frequency when such a frequency exists and it is known that the called ship maintains a simultaneous watch on the common working frequency and the appropriate calling frequency(ies).

(a) Time limitation on calling frequency.  Transmissions by coast stations on 2182 kHz or 156.800 MHz must be minimized and any one exchange of communications must not exceed one minute in duration.

(b) Change to working frequency.  After establishing communications with another station by call and reply on 2182 kHz or 156.800 MHz coast stations must change to an authorized working channel for the transmission of messages.

(c) Use of busy signal.  A coast station, when communicating with a ship station which transmits to the coast station on a radio channel which is a different channel from that used by the coast station for transmission, may transmit a “busy” signal whenever transmission from the ship station is being received. The characteristics of the “busy” signal are contained in § 80.74.

Public Coast Operations

Each public coast station must exchange radio communications with any ship or aircraft station at sea; and each station on shipboard or aircraft at sea must exchange radio communications with any other station on shipboard or aircraft at sea or with any public coast station.


Each public coast station must acknowledge and receive all communications from mobile stations directed to it, transmit all communications delivered to it which are directed to mobile stations within range in accordance with their tariffs. Discrimination in service is prohibited.


Each coast station is authorized to transmit lists of call signs in alphabetical order of all mobile stations for which they have traffic on hand. These traffic lists will be transmitted on the station's normal working frequencies at intervals of:


(1) In the case of telegraphy, at least two hours and not more than four hours during the working hours of the coast station.

(2) In the case of radiotelephony, at least one hour and not more than four hours during the working hours of the coast station.

(3) The announcement must be as brief as possible and must not be repeated more than twice. Coast stations may announce on a calling frequency that they are about to transmit call lists on a specific working frequency.

Private Coast Operations

A private coast station or a marine-utility station is authorized to transmit messages necessary for the private business and operational needs of ships and the safety of aircraft.

Station Identification

(a) Stations must identify transmissions by announcing in the English language the station's assigned call sign. In lieu of the identification of the station by voice, the official call sign may be transmitted by tone-modulated telegraphy in international Morse Code manually or by means of an automatic device approved by the Commission. Transmissions on the navigation frequency (156.650 MHz) by stations on drawbridges may be identified by use of the name of the bridge in lieu of the call sign. Identification must be made:

  (1) At the beginning and end of each exchange of   communications and;  

  (2) At intervals not exceeding 15 minutes whenever   transmissions or communications are sustained for more than 15   minutes.

(b) Marine utility stations, private coast stations, and associated hand-held radios, when exchanging communications, may be identified by a unit identifier in lieu of the call sign. Identification by transmission of the assigned call sign must be at the end of the exchange or at least once every 15 minutes.

A private coast station or marine utility station using telephony must:

(a) Not be used for public correspondence
(b) Not be used to transmit program material for radio broadcasting;
(c) Not be used to transmit press material or news items which are not required to serve the needs of ships.
Tuesday, October 4, 2022