SPECIAL INFORMATION FOR THOSE NOT HOLDING AN AMATEUR RADIO LICENSE
We want to be as friendly and helpful as possible but we must follow the FCC rules. A few of the rules you should know about are summarized below. You are welcome to use the information on this site whether or not you are a licensed amateur, but you may not join the organization unless you are properly licensed.
FCC regulations forbid us from communicating on amateur frequencies with stations not having a valid amateur license. In fact, an amateur radio operator is subject to loss of license and heavy fines if he knowingly communicates with a station which is not properly licensed.
We can not communicate with Marine Single Side Band stations (ie: with a vessel holding an FCC Ship Station License and no amateur license) even though it is technically possible. Some marine SSB manufactures advertise their radios for use on the amateur bands, but this is legal only for persons holding a valid amateur license. If a non-amateur Marine Single Side Band station attempts to communicate with us on amateur frequencies, we must, by law, refuse to communicate with that station.
"Broadcasting" of information intended for non-amateur stations is also forbidden by the FCC. All communications on the WRCC nets, including weather and navigational information and other announcements, are intended only for the use of other licensed amateur radio operators. We cannot provide weather "fills" or any other information to non-amateur stations.
The laws of the Bahamas and many other countries are even more strict with regard to amateur radio operations. We must also insist on proper reciprocal licenses and call signs when we communicate with boats located in another country.
In international waters, the rules of the country in which the vessel is registered, must be followed. Amateurs aboard boats registered or documented in the US must follow FCC regulations when in international waters.
However, in a genuine emergency, any means of communication or frequency is authorized. An "emergency" situation is one in which loss of the boat or safety of human life is imminent. It does not include weather or navigational information or warnings, or a need for advice, parts or supplies. If you do not have an amateur license, please do not try to communicate on amateur frequencies unless you are intending to declare a Mayday to the Coast Guard.