What is Class M?.

Class M is a new European regulation, ECC/DEC/(22)02, introduced in 2022 affecting the maritime industry. Starting December 31, 2024, many current AIS Man Overboard (MOB) devices will no longer be compliant in several European countries.

This regulation aims to prevent the Automatic Identification System (AIS) from being overwhelmed by off-ship devices like fishing net markers. From January 1, 2025, only Class-M DSC (Digital Selective Calling) MOB devices and Mobile AtoN will be allowed to use AIS Channels 1 & 2.

The regulation affects all devices not part of or fitted to a vessel, known as AMRD (Autonomous Maritime Radio Devices). Once adopted by each EU country, AMRDs that do not use DSC or have a DSC receiver, such as AIS-only MOBs, must either be taken out of use or moved to channel 2006, which requires a bespoke receiver.

This decision applies to all CEPT member countries, with each national authority deciding whether to adopt or reject it. In countries adopting ECC/DEC/(22)02, non-compliant MOBs will be illegal to use or 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.

What happens if I use a non-compliant device? 

In countries that have adopted the ECC Decision (22)02, non-compliant MOBs will have to move to channel 2006 or be removed from service as they will not be permitted for use or licensing from 1st January 2025.

Who is recommending the new regulation?

The Electronics Communications Committee (ECC) of CEPT, the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations, has made this decision. CEPT’s role is to establish a European forum for discussions on developments in commercial, operational, regulatory, and technical standardisation, working with the European Commission and ETSI to facilitate the delivery of technologies and services.

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

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