The Ministry of Commerceâs system of annual license fees has been abolished for recreational vessels, and has been replaced with the Marine VHF Radio Operators Qualification â a qualification for users of marine VHF radios (for either fitted or handheld radios.
This qualification is achieved by attending a course (approximately four hours) at any one of the Coastguard Boating Education Services (CBES) course venues around the country, or by being directly examined by a CBES accredited assessor.
It is a legal requirement for users of marine VHF radios to have competed a VHF radio course in order to operate their radio on a day to day basis (an exception is made only in cases of radio use in an emergency situation). Freephone 0800-40 80 90 for course details in your area.
To gain a callsign you must phone the CBES on 0900-54332. Your callsign is then registered on a national database, the details of which are made available solely to search and rescue agencies. The one off cost for this callsign is $24.95 (debited off your Telecom account) or $22.00 when you do your CBES course.
Any changes to the vessels details or your own details must be phoned through to the CBES on their freephone number 0800-40 80 90.
When you sell the vessel you can either keep the callsign or let the callsign go with the boat. In both instances you must advise the CBES. If you are keeping the callsign you must tell the purchaser that they need to obtain a new callsign.