[amsat-bb] Re: Ham Radios on Cruises

Glen Zook gzook at yahoo.com
Tue Mar 1 14:49:42 PST 2011

Sorry, but International law states that when in International Waters the ship is considered to be a part of the jurisdiction of the country of registry.  The captain can give permission to operate.  However, the regulations concerning amateur radio operation are that of the country of registry.  You MUST have authority from the country of registry to operate.  The captain cannot just give his/her permission to operate.  Some countries do have recriprical agreements with the United States, some countries allow CEPT operation, some countries require that you get an actual license granted by that country.  These regulations are determined by the country of registry and NOT by the FCC nor by the captain of the vessel.

You also have to comply with ITU regulations which changes things like frequencies available due to ITU Region.  Those are Region I (Europe and Africa), Region II (North and South America), and Region III (Asia, Australia, and Oceania).

If the ship is of United States registry (of which a relatively few are), then you have no problems when in International Waters.  The only restriction is whether or not you have the captain's permission.  When in territorial waters of another nation then you become subject to the regulations of that country.  Some countries, like Mexico, require a license granted by that government (there is a substantial charge for this from Mexico), some countries allow CEPT, etc., operation, some countries do not allow any operation.  

Remember, once you are on board a ship that is NOT of United States registry then you are subject to the laws of the country of registry of the ship and NOT subject to the laws of the United States.  Your "rights" as a United States citizen have absolutely no bearing when you are subject to the laws of another country.  Asserting your "rights" can be very detrimental to your well being when dealing with the laws of other countries.

Cruises are supposed to be "fun".  However, insisting on using your amateur radio equipment without the permission of the captain of the vessel AND / OR, especially, when not complying with the communications regulations of the country of registry of the ship, can result in penalties which can range from just a "slap on the wrist" to some VERY "hard time" situations.  

There are cruises aimed especially at amateur radio operators on which operation of equipment is welcomed.  However, there are also cruises on which operation of equipment is not only discouraged but actually banned.  You are cautioned to find out the regulations concerning amateur radio operation of the country of registry of the ship as well as working with the cruise line to obtain permission to operate.  Without complying with the laws of the country of registry you can be in some very serious trouble.

Glen, K9STH

Website:  http://k9sth.com

--- On Tue, 3/1/11, Donald Jacob <wb5eku at gmail.com> wrote:

I'm sorry, maybe I'm missing something. Wouldn't it be much easier to say (on web page or what ever since this topic has been address MANY MANY times) that you must check with the ships Captain and/or communications officer. Forget FCC or any other nation's communications authority, since once at sea the ship is totally under the authority of the Captain -- Maritime Law.
Just seems much more logical to me than beating a dead horse!


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