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U.S. Coast Guard National Radio Officer and STCW GMDSS At-Sea Maintainer Requirements

gmdss radio operator

Narional Radio Officer is a merchant mariner rating who helps to monitor and keep track of the communications aspect in a ship and is responsible for all of the cruise ship’s radio and other communications, including satellite hookups, Marisat communications, faxes and telegraph. Radio officers also get regular reports about the weather in the oceanic and sea areas where the ship is positioned. They are an integral part of the merchant marine, cruising ships, drilling platforms and more. They are also in charge of the emergency boats and life vests. Modern ships comply with GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress) communication standards, which no longer require that a radio officer is aboard all ships when they sail.

The role of a GMDSS Radio Operator or  GMDSS At-Sea Maintainer have primary responsibility for radio communications during distress incidents. GMDSS is an internationally agreed set of safety procedures, equipment types and communication protocols that are used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed vessels and help establish strong communication between the control room and the ships or marine aircrafts.

gmdss equipment

Radio Officer is a merchant marine rating who helps to monitor and keep track of the communications aspect in a ship and a GMDSS Radio Operator is responsible for efficiently operating the GMDSS equipment


Radio Officer & GMDSS At-Sea Maintainer General Requirements

  • U.S. Citizenship
  • Medical Certificate

USCG National Radio Officer Requirements

Age: 19

Approved Training

  • 1st or 2nd Class Radiotelegraph Operator license or Radiotelegraph Operator License issued by the FCC (Per new Telecommunication Regulations effective May 20, 2014 will no longer issue 1st or 2nd Class Radiotelegraph Operator License and will be replaced with Radiotelegraph Operator License)

Other Requirements

  • First Aid
  • CPR

USCG STCW GMDSS At-Sea Maintainer Requirements

Age: 18

Approved Training

  • Successful completion of a training program that covers at least the scope and content of the training outlined in Section B-IV/2 of the STCW Code. The program does not have to be US Coast Guard approved but it must meet Section B-IV/2 of the STCW Code; OR
  • Passing an approved GMDSS at-sea maintainer course(s) that meets or exceeds Section B-IV/2 of the STCW Code
  • Hold a valid Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certificate as GMDSS at-sea maintainer. (A FCC license is not proof of training).
  • Optional: Basic Training or Continued Competency not required (if provided endorse with VI/1and list as a separate capacity – if not provided do not endorse BT on the STCW)

Disclaimer: For general information purpose - please check with USCG for the latest requirements and accurate info

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