Free VHF licence from Dec 1

From 1 December 2006, Ofcom will issue free ship radio licences that are valid for the life of the vessel, removing the requirement for radio users to purchase a licence each year.

Ofcom will provide a web-based licensing service as an alternative to the postal service and issue electronic licences to users online, free of charge. But they will require licensees to confirm their licence details at least once every 10 years. There will be no need to display the licence disc; however, a copy of the licence must be kept on board the vessel.

Ofcom will continue to make paper licences available for applicants who do not have access to, or prefer not to use the internet. However, those applying via a paper-based application will be subject to a £20 charge.