GMDSS examinations and certificates for professional seafarers

In maritime transport, a radio station operator must hold a GMDSS certificate if the vessel has a GMDSS radio station. FICORA organises examinations and grants certificates to applicants who have successfully passed the examinations.

GMDSS certificates:

  • General Operator's Certificate (GOC)
  • Restricted Operator's Certificate (ROC)
  • GOC or ROC Endorsement attesting to the validity of competence.

NB! The necessary radio equipment and certificates of competency required from personnel on board Finnish vessels engaged in maritime transport are determined by the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi).

Examination requirements

The GMDSS radio examination requirements are based on the European level decision CEPT/ERC/DEC/(99)01. The requirements comply with the Radio Regulations of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the STCW Convention of the International Maritime Organization (IMO).

Quality manual

FICORA has a quality manual that guides the GMDSS examinations and certification. The quality manual complies with the quality system in accordance with the principles and models of the standard SFS-EN ISO/IEC 17024.

The quality manual describes in detail how theoretical and practical exams are organised and what duties different tasks involve.


Endorsements are granted on application. The applicant must already hold a GOC or ROC certificate. A person applying for endorsement must prove his or her competence in accordance with the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW Convention).

Proving continued professional competence

Continued professional competence may be established in three alternative ways:

  1. approved seagoing service in such officer duties that are relevant with regard to the certificate, performing adequate GMDSS radio functions appropriate to the certificate held, for a period of at least 360 days in total during the preceding five years;
  2. certificate of passing a refresher course approved by FICORA; or
  3. successfully passed endorsement examination.

NB! FICORA will request the information on seagoing service directly from the Finnish Transport Safety Agency (Trafi).

It is therefore important that you make sure that all information on your seagoing service is included in the Trafi register, especially if you have worked on board a foreign vessel.

If the information is not included in the register, please attach to the application a certificate proving the required seagoing service. The certificate must be issued by the maritime authority of the flag state or the ship owner.

For more detailed information on endorsing certificates and related application process, please contact FICORA.

More information on endorsing certificates and the related application process [, ]

Examinations and examination locations

GOC and ROC examinations include a theoretical exam and a practical exam at a radio station. The practical exam includes a section on distress radio communication in a radio simulator and a radio station section.

The examinations are usually organised in educational institutions that provide training in maritime radiocommunications and have a GMDSS radio station and simulator.

For more information on degree programmes and learning materials, please contact the relevant educational institutions.

Further information is provided by Radio Network Specialist Ari Caselius.

Key words: Spectrum , Certificates , Examinations

Updated 13.06.2016

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