A hopefully handy guide, but as always subject to change!

  • Attend VHF radio course to get certificate
  • Purchase VHF & PLB
  • Go to Ofcom Online Services to create user account & apply for VHF licence …..to get MMSi number


  1. Apply for new licence
  2. Select Ship Radio (not amateur radio)
  3. Select Ship Radio licence again (not ship portable radio licence) – doing this lets you link your PLB and VHF.   If you don’t do this you will get an MMSi number for each device.  
  4. Having one MMSi number just keeps things simple
  5. Receive the certificate, MMSi and Call Sign within 5 minutes

Complete registration for set with PBL – need to register with The Epirb Registry in Cornwall.     You need to note your MMSi number and Call Sign number along with emergency contact details.

Register with CoastGuard through (you’re registering a small ship (less than 24mtrs) )


  • Costs £35 for 5yrs
  • Technically not sure if you need this but when registering your PLB it does ask for you ship registration number……although you can progress without noting it. 

Registering PLB  with Maritime and CoastGuard agency.


Depending on where you are paddling you can contact the Coastguard Base in Belfast – 03443820037

When going out with group call to advise:

  • Where your going
  • When your coming back
  • Number in group
  • What you intend to do
  • Call sign