Automatic Identification System (AIS)

An Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a broadcast transponder system operating in the VHF maritime mobile band. AIS transponder equipment is used on ships and aids to navigation by Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) and by Maritime Authorities. These aids may be located on shore, such as in a lighthouse, or on the water, on platforms or buoys. They allow the transmission of positional information to ships and to shore, as well as certain additional information such as the nature and status of the AtoN, meteorological and hydrological information.

AIS; Aids to Navigation (AtoNs):

Statutory Sanction under the Merchant Shipping Act is required for all AtoNs including AIS AtoNs. Statutory Sanction is also required to alter or discontinue an AtoN.

 An AIS AtoN system licence issued by ComReg will only remain valid for so long as its associated Statutory Sanction is in force i.e. if the associated Statutory Sanction is suspended, revoked or withdrawn then the corresponding licence shall automatically cease to be valid. Similarly, if the licence is suspended, revoked or withdrawn then the corresponding Statutory Sanction shall automatically cease to be valid.

AIS; Non Aids to Navigation (Non AtoNs):

This transponder equipment is used in shore-side infrastructure by Vessel Traffic Services and Maritime Competent Authorities, and allows them to monitor AIS-fitted vessel movements, to communicate with all AIS transponder equipment types, and if suitably authorised, to perform management functions upon the AIS VHF Data Link (VDL).

Any person or body applying to ComReg for a Radiodetermination Services Licence, permitting them to possess or use an AIS system, must have an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity), a Time Slot, and for AtoNs, a Statutory Sanction. A Statutory Sanction is granted by the Commissioner of Irish Lights (“CIL”) and Time Slots are co-ordinated between the CIL and the Irish Coast Guard (“IRCG”). Applicants must have obtained Statutory Sanction from CIL before applying to ComReg for a Radiodetermination Licence.


More information can be found in our guidelines document – Radiodetermination, Air Traffic and Maritime Services Licence Guidelines 11/07R2

Application Form

To apply for a licence please download the AIS Licence – Application Form 11/07aR

Applications should be submitted via email to


The fees payable for an AIS Licence are:

  • €500 for a new licence
  • €30 to amend


The Regulations governing the issue of AIS licences are the;

  •  (S.I. 369 of 2009) – Wireless Telegraphy (Radiodetermination, Air Traffic and Maritime Services) Regulations, 2009