MMSI Number - US or International

GPS, Sonor, Radar, Fish Finder, etc. Discuss electronics installation and upgrades.
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Desertboater
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Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:43 am

When looking into getting an MMSI number for the DSC radio, the following FAQs were on the BoatUS webpage. Has anyone had to use an automated distress call in Canadian waters using an MMSI from other than the FCC?

Q: What is the difference between obtaining an MMSI number from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) versus obtaining the number from BoatUS?

A: BoatUS MMSI numbers are coded for recreational vessels cruising in U.S. waters only not otherwise required to be licensed; the registrations are downloaded into the U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue Database (MISLE) only. FCC-assigned MMSI numbers are coded for International Waters and go into the International Search & Rescue Database (ITU). In order to be accepted into the ITU database, any FCC assigned MMSI must end in zero. This is why the BoatUS MMSI number cannot be re-used when later applying for an FCC License for international cruising.

Q: I am voluntarily FCC Licensed but do not have an MMSI number issued by the FCC. Can I obtain my MMSI through BoatUS?

A: Yes. If you are voluntarily licensed and do not plan to cruise in International waters, you may use the BoatUS MMSI number. If your intention is at some point to cruise internationally (ex. Bahamas, Mexico) you will want to contact the FCC instead to have your License modified to include a properly coded MMSI which will go into the International Search & Rescue database. For FCC call (877) 480-3201 (Select Option 2 from automated menu).
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Norseman
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Sat Nov 25, 2017 12:14 pm

I got one from the FCC: Fill out the form on the internet and pay $220 for the Ship’s Station License.
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DesertAlbin736
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Mon Nov 27, 2017 9:05 pm

Yes, we would have to go the FCC route since the bulk of next year's cruising will be in the wilds of BC Canada's Inside Passage. In the past we didn't have DSC or AIS, just bare bones VHF that didn't even get weather channels. We did have handheld GPS with BlueChart software "chartplotted" on a screen the size of a business card, plus paper charts. No radar, but do have a radar reflector, so hopefully radar equipped boats could "see" us one their screens. We did have to make a distress call in Canada during our "dinghy incident", but had to do it the old fashioned way relaying info by voice over VHF & cell phone.
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DesertAlbin736
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:05 am

Next up to add to my electronics suite is a floating handheld VHF with GPS & DSC. Say you have a fixed mount VHF with MMSI number already obtained either from BoatUS (domestic) or FCC station license (ITU). You use the same MMSI number and associated personal data for a DSC/GPS enabled handheld, for example a Standard Horizon HX870 or similar, having the same MMSI number programmed into two radios for the same boat/operator. That would seem to be the sensible thing to have, since say for example you were offshore somewhere and a fire broke out on your boat that your extinguishers failed to put out and which prevented you from getting to your fixed VHF & you had to abandon ship in a hurry & take to the dinghy (or even jump over the side) with ditch bag & hand held DSC enabled VHF & GPS. Seems that would help to have something like that in your ditch bag. I already have an old Standard Horizon HX350S handheld of 2001 vintage. Still works, but the Nicad rechargeable battery died long ago, so I have to feed it 6 AA batteries at at time, which don't last very long with any amount of transmitting. It is waterproof, but not a floater. Plus, no DSC or built in GPS. Certainly keeping the old one around as a backup.
La Dolce Vita
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Tree
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:30 am

I thought MMSI numbers are international?

I certainly have one, 232005662 (you can see me on marinetraffic)
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Norseman
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:35 am

Tree wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:30 am
I thought MMSI numbers are international?

I certainly have one, 232005662 (you can see me on marinetraffic)
Boat US will issue a “domestic” MMSI number:

https://www.boatus.com/MMSI/MMSI/AboutUs
2001 28TE, 6LP-STE, 1,144 hrs. 19X18 four-blade wheel.

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DesertAlbin736
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Fri Jan 12, 2018 9:08 pm

The domestic one is all you need if you're cruising plans don't include foreign waters (ie outside the US). If we weren't going up into British Columbia I certainly wouldn't bother going the FCC station license/ITU route. If all we were going to do was buzz around our local lake I wouldn't even bother with the extra expense of a DSC/AIS enabled radio.
La Dolce Vita
1971 Albin 25 #736
Yanmar 3GM30F
Gig Harbor Boatworks Nisqually 8 dinghy
Residence: Peoria, AZ
Homeport: Lake Pleasant, AZ & beyond

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