The requirement for DSC functionality was temporarily put on hold until 1 January 2017 to enable the Coastal Radio Service to upgrade the complete structure to VHF DSC on channel 70.

Radio Telephony Watch-keeping on 2182 kHz will be maintained until 1 January 2017, by the Coastal Radio Service.

 In effect this still means that at the first safety survey after 1 January 2016, of Category D, C and B small craft as stipulated in the NSVSR 2007 as amended, a 29 MHz will no longer be appropriate as part of the safety equipment stipulated in the annex to the NSVSR 2007 regulations


We suggest the following procedure

  1. Complete your Short Range Certificate Exam. We are in the process to compile a list of SAMSA accredited institutions – click here to view.
  2. Apply at ICASA for the radio license and MMSI number.
    1. Click here to download the form.
    2. Complete and send with a copy of your ID (Company registration in the case of a company) to Kagiso Rapulana ( – 011 556 4109 at ICASA in Cape Town.


Once-off application fee R480.00 per application plus the licence fee which for the first year is R134.00
Total fee for the first year – R614.00


However, if the you already have an ICASA licence and only wants to apply for the MMSI, the cost is R100.00 using the licence number as a reference when making payment.

You should receive your documents within 4 weeks from ICASA.

 Posted by at 8:43 am

  22 Responses to “VHF Application”

  1. The skipper of our boat, R Wessels inadvertently put his certificate through the wash and it has been destroyed. He is ZR6987, how can he apply for a duplicate online?

  2. Good day,

    I’ve purchased a 4.7m Inflatable RIB and i was advised that i need to Install a Marine VHF Radio even for recreational use. I was made to understand that to obtain the Cat E License i need to get a Fix mounted radio, this was installed today and i did a radio check with Cape Town Radio to confirm that its operational.

    I need to know do i need to complete a course and request a MSSI no even if i qualify for CAT E License

    • You need a VHF DSC Radio should you wish to go further than 1nm from the coast. You only need the MSSI number should you want to use the DSC functions of the radio. Without it, it will operate as a normal VHF radio.

      • what are the
        DSC functions?

        • A VHF DSC radio is much like a cell phone and VHF radio combined. The added functions which a normal VHF radio does not have:

        • Send distress alerts at the touch of a button. This has the benefit than an inexperienced crew member, who is unfamiliar with radio equipment, can send a continuous distress message by pressing a single button. At the same time, it will continue sending the distress signal even if the crew is incapacitated or otherwise engaged.
        • It can transmit your vessel’s position to a DSC-equipped monitoring station if connected to a GPS.
        • You can dial up other vessels by using a unique identity number and have an one to one conversations with other vessels without other stations listening in. It will alert your radio, similar to a telephone, that you have a call and then switch you automatically to the channel your caller has selected.
        • When a VHF DSC radio is turned on it automatically monitors Channel 70 for emergency calls. If another vessel transmits a digital alert then this is picked up by the receiver and causes a high pitched audio alarm sound. The position of the vessel in distress and the time of the signal are given in text format. Voice communications can continue on Channel 16 as with a standard VHF radio.
  • Hi.
    I inderstand that yoy need to do a course to get a license, my question is do I need a radio for surveying when operating small vessel. Less than 7 metres. Cannot find clarity from samsa

    • Hi Andre,

      You will need a VHF DSC radio on your vessel when you wish to go further than 1 nautical mile from the coast. To operate the radio you will need to do the Short Range VHF course.

  • Good Day

    I have a General Operators Certificate which I completed at Durban University of Technology. Would I still need to apply for a ICASA radio licence?


    • Hi Rodrego,

      Any person wishing to operate a marine VHF DSC radio must have a valid SAMSA DSC operator’s license/ticket. To get it you need to complete a two day short range certificate course at an accredited SAMSA institution. The only people getting any credits for the course is an holder of a marine VHF license. They only need to do an one day conversion course. SAMSA do not recognize any VHF qualification outside the marine environment – even pilots have to do the two day course.
      You need to be registered at ICASA to operate a VHF radio and can only do that after you have completed the operator’s course and is the holder of a SAMSA license/ticket.
      I’m not sure if your course covered the marine section?

  • Herkie,

    Ek het my VHF SRC 4-5 Jan 2017 by Head to Head Boatings supplies Knysna ( Tracy Meintjes SAMSA 00315, SASCA A46) susesvol voltooi en het ‘n handheld vhf radio aangeskaf. Ek gaan met ‘n kayak op die see en wil dus as deel van my veiligheids maatreels ‘n DSC kan doen. As wat en hoe doen ek aansoek vir ‘n mmsi nommer?

  • Hi Admin
    Ek hetmy VHV/DSC kursus gedoen no moet ek n MMSI nommer kry
    ek het ook n vhe radio met n geldige lesenie ek kort net die MMSI nommer
    kan julle my help Dankie

  • Hi,
    What is the fee for MMSI and Call Sign application to ICASA?

    • Hi Brendan,

      The once-off application fee R480.00 per application plus the licence fee which for the first year is R134.00 The total fee is thus application fee + licence fee = Total Amount

      However, if the you already have an ICASA licence and only wants to apply for the MMSI, the cost is R100.00 using the licence number as a reference when making payment.

  • Good afternoon,

    Please can you tell me if you have received your accreditation and if your VHF courses are live? Also, where are you based?

    Kind Regards

  • Is the DSC VHF operator licence course available online yet?

  • Good day,

    Can the VHF Course also be studied at home and then a test be written?
    If not, please inform how to go about.
    Kind Regards

    • Hi Zelda

      We are in the process to get accreditation from SAMSA for the VHF Short Range Course and should be able to go live in September. Watch this space!

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