What is Class-M?

A new European regulation, ECC/DEC/(22)02 was introduced in 2022, which means that from December 31st, 2024, existing AIS MOBs will be non-compliant and illegal to use in the waters of a number of European countries.

This regulation is designed to protect AIS (the Automatic Identification System) from being overloaded with irrelevant off-ship devices such as fishing net markers. It states that only Class-M DSC (Digital Selective Calling) MOB (Man Over-Board) devices and Mobile AtoN will be able to use AIS Channels 1 & 2 from January 1st, 2025.

This regulation applies to all devices not part of or fitted to, a vessel (termed AMRD (Autonomous Maritime Radio Devices). Once adopted in each EU country, AMRDs that do not use DSC and do not have a DSC receiver, such as AIS-only MOBs, will not be able to use AIS channels 1 & 2 and will have to be taken out of use or moved on to channel 2006, where they will require a bespoke receiver.

The decision applies to all CEPT member countries. Each country’s national authority will make a decision as to whether they will adopt or reject the decision. Where ECC/DEC/(22)02 is adopted, non-compliant MOBs will be illegal to use/license. You can find an updated list here.

Whether PLBs (Personal Locator Beacons) with AIS are captured by this decision or not is currently being reviewed by the ECC.

The FAQ above is our interpretation of the ECC legislation highlighted in document https://docdb.cept.org/document/28560

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