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Old 29-06-2011, 10:06   #1
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MMSI Assignments

Beware: MMSI numbers assigned by BOATUS or USPS are for use in US waters only. If you plan to go to foreign ports, you need to have a MMSI assigned by the FCC. Otherwise, in the event of an emergency the local entity charge with safety and rescue operations will not receive notifications. Also, when you are out of the country the AIS system must use an FCC assigned MMSI to be legal.

It is unfortunate or worse BOATUS and USPS don't make this clear in their literature on the subject.

For more info: Maritime Mobile Service Identity

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Old 29-06-2011, 12:07   #2
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Re: MMSI assignments

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Originally Posted by Captain Paddy View Post
Beware: MMSI numbers assigned by BOATUS or USPS are for use in US waters only. If you plan to go to foreign ports, you need to have a MMSI assigned by the FCC. Otherwise, in the event of an emergency the local entity charge with safety and rescue operations will not receive notifications. Also, when you are out of the country the AIS system must use an FCC assigned MMSI to be legal.

It is unfortunate or worse BOATUS and USPS don't make this clear in their literature on the subject.

For more info: Maritime Mobile Service Identity

Cap'n Paddy
BoatUS refers to it in the FAQ list. USPS mentions it directly on their main MMSI page.

Any boater planning an international trip should realize their vessel should (or is required, depending on the country visited) be USCG-documented rather than only state-registered, and that any US vessel transmitting via marine VHF to a foreign entity or in foreign waters is required to have an FCC-issued ship's station license, which includes an MMSI when issued, and the operator is required to hold a radiotelephone operator's license (no test required).

I hate to come across sounding "mean", but not knowing the above would suggest that the person planning such a trip hasn't completed all their homework yet. All of this should be part of the preparation.
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Old 29-06-2011, 12:56   #3
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Re: MMSI Assignments

Who really cares whether your MMSI is legal or not--the BoatUS ones will make your DSC and/or AIS work, and that's all that is really important in an emergency. I tried my DSC VHF during a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden and all it did was display "MMSI not installed".

Try getting an MMSI from Trinidad--huge bureaucracy, big$$, months long wait, they treat you like a ship and require an inspection--all you need from BoatUS is a US address and an internet connection.
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Old 29-06-2011, 13:04   #4
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Re: MMSI Assignments

Cap'n Jon: The reason for my post is this: I have talked with two very reputable marina operators, one in the Chesapeake and one further south, and neither had any idea that the BOATUS assigned MMSI should not be installled into and AIS or SSB on a boat headed to foreign ports. I had hoped to spread the word because clearly the language at the BOATUS web site is not clear enough. It results in the donradcliffe problem of "MMSI not installed" when you may most need it.

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Old 29-06-2011, 15:56   #5
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Re: MMSI Assignments

I just got an email with the following post, but now can't find it on the forum, so I'll copy it over (thanks for the info cal40john):


This thread is located at:
MMSI Assignments - Cruisers & Sailing Forums

Here is the message that has just been posted:
***************

---Quote (Originally by donradcliffe)---
Who really cares whether your MMSI is legal or not--the BoatUS ones will make your DSC and/or AIS work, and that's all that is really important in an emergency. I tried my DSC VHF during a pirate attack in the Gulf of Aden and all it did was display "MMSI not installed".

Try getting an MMSI from Trinidad--huge bureaucracy, big$$, months long wait, they treat you like a ship and require an inspection--all you need from BoatUS is a US address and an internet connection.
---End Quote---
From what I've gathered from other threads here, the SAR teams won't be sent out unless they can confirm that this isn't a false alarm by doing some additional checking, which starts with your information in the database. With a BoatUS MMSI your information won't be in the international database.

I got my station license recently enough that it came with an FCC MMSI, I didn't have a DSC radio at the time. My information isn't in the itu database and it won't be until I have updated my license information in the SAR section with the FCC I have been told. I have to get around to that.

ITU database search engine:
Particulars of Ship stations (Particulars of Ship stations)

From: BoatUS.com: MMSI Number Assignment Instructions (BoatUS.com: MMSI Number Assignment Instructions)
3. If you are voluntarily licensed but will be cruising in U.S. waters only, you may use the BoatU.S. assigned MMSI number, however, keep in mind that should you decide to cruise in international waters in future, the MMSI data would not be included in the International Search & Rescue Database.
***************



This post was a real eye-opener for me, as I put my FCC ASSIGNED MMSI in the international search engine, and it had never heard of me! It had heard of my call sign, and when I checked the FCC data base, my MMSI and SAR data were all in there.

So...anybody able to find their MMSI on the ITU search engine, or is it just me??
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Old 29-06-2011, 16:04   #6
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Re: MMSI Assignments

Surprisingly a US vessel entering Canadian waters will require an FCC issued station licence and vice versa. There were plans to get rid of this requirement years ago, but the 9/11 happened. The proposed changes were promptly thrown in the dustbin.
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Old 29-06-2011, 16:23   #7
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Re: MMSI Assignments

At the FCC website, look for FCC License View. Put in your call sign. At the end of the line of information (name, call sign, etc) there is a tab for all the information on that file. Click there, and that form shows what the FCC has as your MMSI. Why this doesn't show up on the ITU, I don't know.
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Old 29-06-2011, 16:53   #8
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Re: MMSI Assignments

This subject has been discussed here and on other forums several times in the past.

The Boat US, USPS MMSI number issuance program began because the U.S. eliminated the need for a VHF license for boats in U.S. waters which made no contact with foreign vessels. It was intended to be an easy way to get an MMSI number without having to go thru the rather costly and laborious process of getting an FCC station license, operators license, MMSI number, etc.

IMHO, this was a well-intentioned but misguided program. It has sewn confusion everywhere. Few understand it, and fewer still understand that the Boat U.S./USPS MMSI number will not appear in the ITU database, i.e., it's worthless outside the U.S.

But, I guess we're stuck with it for the time being.

Bottom line: if you intend only to use VHF radio in the U.S. only, and not speak to foreign vessels and not later install a SSB radio, THEN the Boat U.S. / USPS MMSI number is all you need.

However, if any one of those three conditions is false, i.e., you intend to speak to foreign vessels, or go abroad, or install a SSB radio, THEN the Boat U.S. / USPS MMSI number will not help you. You need an FCC-issued MMSI number, a station license, and at least the Restricted Radiotelephone Operators Permit.

Be careful how you choose: many radios will only let you enter a MMSI number once or twice, before you have to return the radio to a dealer for reprogramming.

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Old 29-06-2011, 17:01   #9
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Re: MMSI Assignments

Bill,

I am telling you that my FCC ISSUED MMSI isn't going to help me in foreign waters. I have already fired off an email to the FCC, but you might check to see if the ITU has yours listed.
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Old 29-06-2011, 17:11   #10
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Re: MMSI Assignments

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Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
Bill,

I am telling you that my FCC ISSUED MMSI isn't going to help me in foreign waters. I have already fired off an email to the FCC, but you might check to see if the ITU has yours listed.
It does. I've checked.

But -- it didn't either until I wrote to the ITU and gave them the FCC FRN/MMSI listing reference. Took a few weeks, but they finally got it in.

Ah, bureaucracy...... :-)

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Old 30-06-2011, 08:56   #11
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Re: MMSI Assignments

Quote:
Originally Posted by donradcliffe View Post
I am telling you that my FCC ISSUED MMSI isn't going to help me in foreign waters. I have already fired off an email to the FCC, but you might check to see if the ITU has yours listed.
Interesting. Mine showed up in the ITU database about a week after my station license was issued back in 2006.
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Old 30-06-2011, 10:58   #12
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Re: MMSI Assignments

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Interesting. Mine showed up in the ITU database about a week after my station license was issued back in 2006.
Dave:

Yeah, apparently it's hit or miss now. I had mine for several years before finding out it wasn't in the ITU database. Had to email them, request a listing, and send them the FCC link.

Here's their email address for anyone else having problems:
Contact us

I believe they update the database every Monday morning.

Bill
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