MURS use in Canada for 4 fishing boats

Hi All- I am very new at this, so please be patient with me on my ignorance.

I am planning on a family vacation in a remote part of Ontario, Canada next May and I want to purchase 4 walkie-talkies for the 4 boats that will be out and about on the large lake. I have looked into the various licensing requirements, and I am leaning towards a MURS system because of the simplicity and range in this environment.

In the US, I understand that there are 5 frequencies, and if you purchase the unit that is designed for this- you are legal. However, I’m not so sure about Canada. I looked up the Canadian version of the FCC and it is listed below.

If someone could please comment about MURS in canada, and perhaps what they would recommend for 4 walkie / talkies for use in boats I would greatly appreciate the help.

Best regards,

SAB-002-14 – Multi-Use Radio Services in the 150 MHz VHF Band

Deferral of Multi-Use Radio Services (MURS) in Canada

In 2005, Industry Canada held a public consultation[Footnote1]to invite comments regarding policy changes to accommodate new services including MURS radio products available in the United States market. Following this consultation, in June 2009, the Department released its decisions in [Spectrum Allocation and Utilization Policy Regarding the Use of Certain Frequency Bands Below 1.7 GHz for a Range of Radio Applications – SP 1.7 GHz,]“2009 policy decision”).

Included in this policy document was a decision to introduce MURS devices in the 150 MHz band (i.e. 151.8200 MHz, 151.8800 MHz, 151.9400 MHz, 154.5700 MHz and 154.600 MHz), along with the following transition components:

  1. a five-year transition period was established from the publication date of the June 2009 spectrum policy, after which the distribution and sale of MURS devices would be permitted;
  2. all affected licensees would receive notification letters following the publication date of the spectrum policy and two years before the end of the transition period;
  3. affected licensees that wished to move to other frequencies, at their own cost, would be accommodated with new frequencies where possible. The Department would inform licensees of the availability of alternate frequencies, on a case-by-case basis, at the request of the licensee;
  4. licensees could continue to use these frequencies on a secondary, no protection basis, but might be subject to interference from the operation of MURS devices; and
  5. the Department would establish appropriate technical limits for the MURS devices in a relevant Radio Standard Specification (RSS) and/or a Standard Radio System Plan (SRSP). The provisions of paragraph (iii) and (iv) would also be applied to certain adjacent frequencies, as listed in the relevant SRSP.

According to the 2009 policy decision, MURS devices would have been permitted to operate in Canada as of June 2014. Also included was a moratorium on any further licensing of these five frequencies for new land mobile radio systems. These frequencies are currently used specifically by commercial/industrial land mobile and public safety licensees.

Since release of Industry Canada’s 2009 policy decision, uncertainties have been raised regarding potential uptake of MURS devices in Canada, and the relative merits of proceeding with MURS implementation in light of potential negative impacts to incumbent licensees.

As a result, the Department does not feel that the introduction of MURS devices in Canada is warranted at this time, and has decided to defer the introduction of MURS devices in Canada until a clearer indication of actual need is provided by Canadian MURS advocates and/or stakeholders.

Manufacturers, importers, retailers, current licensed users, and all other stakeholders are asked to take note of this provision.

Issued under the authority of the Radiocommunication Act.

Peter Hill
Director General
Spectrum Management Operations Branch


Marc Dupuis
Director General
Engineering, Planning and Standards Branch


Footnote 1

Proposals and Changes to the Spectrum in Certain Bands Below 1.7 GHz (DGPT-004-05):

MURS is not legal in Canada because the government decided the demand was too low, and the cost to existing users who would have to migrate to new frequencies would be too high. This simply means that if you use one of the MURS frequencies in Canada, you may be interfering with an existing business or public service who is assigned that frequency.

You would be far better off with a good GMRS/FRS radio. (No licences are required for GMRS in Canada.) You can also get a combined GMRS/Marine Band radio in Canada that may be useful in emergencies. Using marine band radios on a boat requires a special licence, but in an emergency, if you are on a big lake where the Coast Guard monitors marine radios, you may be able to get help on Channel 16. Just don’t use the marine bands outside of an emergency until you are licenced and know exactly what frequencies to operate on in Canada for boat-to-baot communications.

Thank you very much for your reply. I realize that you do not have to be on the forum and respond to questions raised, but I want you to know that it is appreciated.

Because you recommend GMRS / FMRS, can you please recommend a solution? ie. a couple of good quality choices that I would be happy with for my family? I realize some of the range restrictions, but I just want to be able to communicate between the 4 boats- ie. with some safety in mind.

BR- Bob

If your use would be for marine use then I would think a marine radio system would be appropriate. Range, in general, depends on the antennas again and positioning. I wouldn’t expect a huge distance in any case. Which radio, etc? No idea.

Wouxun makes a GMRS radio that was just introduced, and is sold by our forum hosts at buytwowayradios. They are a commercial-quality radio, with GMRS only frequencies. This is the one I would recommend.

If you want a waterproof radio, there are a few GMRS radios on the market. Keep in mind that a consumer-grade GMRS radio - no matter how expensive - is not going to last forever. Batteries die out, and parts break off. (Especially charge, mic and headset sockets.) Up to this point, there have been very few choices for commercial-grade radios for GMRS. Many people have programmed amateur radios to GMRS frequencies, but that is not strictly legal. But with the new Wouxun KG-805 radios, you get commercial-grade radios, with legal GMRS frequencies. Having several Wouxun radios from buytwowayradios shipped to me up here in Canada, I would highly recommend you check out this option.

As for marine radios, you would need to licence all your operators. They are good for emergency calls if you are on a lake where the Coast Guard monitors transmissions. They are also good for boat-to-boat calls, but quite frankly, unless you are on the ocean or a large lake, there are no advantages to marine handheld radios over GMRS radios. GMRS is still unlicenced here in Canada. Range with a good 4-watt GMRS radio will be virtually as good as a VHF marine radio, and you negate the need for licencing, call signs and restricted frequency assignments.