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Re: Ship's radio license.
Every nation has their own radio laws, usually on conformance with the policies of the ITU (International Telecommunications Union, a part of the UN) but binding on both their own citizens, and any radio operators who enter their territory.
Rules for VHF radios and shortwave radios usually vary, and one or more are often required FOR THE VESSEL as well as an additional operator's license for someone aboard to use it.
Take a $10 WalMart walkie-talkie into China without advance permission and licensing, and you may be arrested to espionage. That's about as strict as it gets.
Your dad will probably need to apply for a new license for the vessel, since he is a new owner and they typically are not transferred. And then he'll need an operator's license. If he's in the UK and it is a UK-flagged vessel, I think the UK's equivalent to the FCC is OFCOM? And they'll be able to give him the correct answers.
Since many laws CHANGE on the first of the year, I'd make sure to ask if the existing laws will remain unchanged in two weeks, while he's at it. If he's unaware of these things, he probably should consider a radio operator's licensing course as well. Many kind of radios, different ways to use them all effectively.