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Old 26-05-2015, 11:35   #16
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Re: MMSI for DSC-equipped VHF Handhelds (from a US perspective)

Really I think this is a bit of a tempest in a tea pot. Let's say you assign all your VHF radios to one MMSI registered with the FCC and therefore IMO. If one of these radios issues a distress alert with GPS coordinates the local monitoring point will get a message containing MMSI and GPS coordinates. Also, any nearby boats will also get the same message and hopefully rescue you before SAR has a chance to come looking.

Next, the Rescue Coordination Center authorities will be notified (we hope) with the MMSI number and GPS coordinates. The RCC team will look up the IMO database info and find contact details you have input to the IMO database. They will call the contact phone number(s) listed there. Before you left home you told your primary and secondary contacts about your trip and all the details of where you are heading, the type of boat with full description, etc. If you are a hermit you programmed a recorded message at the primary contact number to give out this information in case the RCC get a distress message from one of your radios.

Now that the RCC have your details and they know this is a real distress they should go into action with all the information they need to locate you.

But realistically unless you are almost within sight of land a handheld radio is not going to reach very many people. Maybe a boat within a few miles will get the message. If you are worried about rescue from a boat that is not your own make sure the boat has AIS installed and working. Get an AIS SART (with your one and only MMSI programmed into it) and a PLB to carry with you. Then you don't have to worry about all this MMSI stuff.
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Old 27-05-2015, 09:40   #17
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Re: MMSI for DSC-equipped VHF Handhelds (from a US perspective)

I guess this is a bit of a tempest in a teapot but the result is there has been alot of great information put forward that was not previously brought up. That was my intent in continueing the thread. I have made my choice for better or worse and it may not be the right choice for others but the information is now out there for them to consider.

My cruising grounds are always with in sight of land and there are lots of boats around so I assume a hand held has a good chance of reaching another boater. In any case it would reach the boat I fell off of and my thought is that I can direct my wife to my location without her having to decipher the MOB feature of chart plotter. We'll have some drills beforehand of course but chart plotters and electronics are not something that is in our DNA, as opposed to our kids.

I don't know about any timeframe for the FCC to implement the ITU changes.

Unless further interesting information comes up I am signing off. Thanks for everyones comments.

Fair winds
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Old 27-05-2015, 12:49   #18
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Re: MMSI for DSC-equipped VHF Handhelds (from a US perspective)

Eric,
Darn, I hope you aren't really signing off from this thread, 'cause I just got here, and have a boatload of good/helpful info for you!!!



I agree with Bill, btrayfors, on this one, it is best to use your vessel's MMSI in your handhelds, even when using them elsewhere....but, for your specific question, I will not try to convince you...

Eric, you, and I assume many others, have some misunderstanding of how this all works...
Please forgive me if you do understand all of this, but for clarification, I thought it best to post some facts...that most should find helpful...



1) The "database" that all nations' Rescue Coordination Centers (RCC's) use, is the ITU database, which (assuming you properly registered your EPIRB and got an official MMSI # from your nation's governing authority) DOES have your vessel's description, color, length, max number of persons, number of liferafts and/or lifeboats, radio equipment carried, radio callsign, MMSI #, EPIRB #, INMARSAT #, etc...as well as up to 8 - 10 shoreside / emergency contact phone numbers....addresses, etc.
(even if you, a private citizen cannot view all that data, it IS there, trust me...)

But, understand that nobody outside of the US (or Canada ?) has access to any info that you may have placed into the BoatUS database...

Also, take note that NO other boat picking-up your DSC Distress call is going to have any direct access to any database at all....they of course can respond to your Distress call and relay your distress call to a shore station, where hopefully that nation's RCC will be notified, and the RCC will have access to the ITU database...



2) So....from a standpoint of "will other boats get my DSC Distress call, if I use a BoatUS MMSI #?", the answer is of course, yes....(assuming there are any other boats within range of your handheld radio)....

Using a BoatUS MMSI# outside of the US will not prevent your radio from transmitting a DSC Distress call, nor from others receiving your DSC Distress call....
It is just that nobody will know who you are, nor who to contact to verify that this is a legitimate Distress (the shoreside / emergency contact)....whish IS a very important part of any RCC's Search And Rescue (SAR) procedure!

So, in the very rare circumstance of a DSC Distress call being received by only another boat close-by and NOT by a shore station, nor relayed to a shore station, there is little downside to using a BoatUS MMSI#, outside of the US...
But, this is a very rare circumstance, and not what the DSC (and GMDSS) was designed for....


3) As for "their coast guard coming to rescue you"....once you are outside US waters, it's not really that easy...
Sorry to say, but once you are beyond the range of USCG helos (or other USCG assets involved drug interdiction and/or immigration patrols), beyond the range of the UK, Aus, NZ, coast guards, the answer is NO....
No coast guard is coming to rescue you!!

It is most likely going to be a merchant ship directed to your location by a RCC....(or a merchant vessel that happens to be in range of your handheld)...
But, it isn't going to be a "coast guard", that will be coming to your assistance!!
And unless you have a legit (international) MMSI#, outside of the US, nobody is going to be able to find out anything about you....no ability to contact anyone on-shore to ask/verify if this really is a legit "Distress"....
And, if you think that this doesn't matter, please read Beth's articles (and the other info), in the links in this other thread...and you'll soon learn that in many parts of the world (and all of the 3rd world), if there is no way to "verify" a distress call, there will be little (if any) Search And Rescue response at all!!!
EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds!!


And, exactly "if" and "how" these SAR assets are directed, is a VERY important piece of how a distress / rescue works, and I advise all that think this is like dialing 911 (or 999) on your cell phone, to please have a read of this recent thread right here on Cruiser's Forum....(although titled about EPIRB's, the SAR part and how that is directed, is the same for DSC Distress alerts)....

EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds!!



4) Understand I'm a BoatUS member, and I think they're a fine organization...but, there are not the expert here....
Quote:
Originally Posted by ejlindahl View Post
Thi. I think it is obvious that I am not an expert nor well informed except that i trust that BoatUS is expert in this subject.
T
he real authority on Distress signaling, database searches, etc. is not BoatUS, but rather the IMO/ITU and the GMDSS system designers, COSPAS-SARSAT, etc....as well as the USCG, etc.....and these are places where I got the facts I posted here...
Again, I have nothing against BoatUS, but the info that they provided you is inaccurate (or at best misleading), and I seriously advise you to read the facts for yourself....








Quote:
Originally Posted by ejlindahl View Post
I see no downside to registering my hand held with BoatUS. Even if I use it for distress in Mexico, Bahamas, Europe, (chartering) etc., their coast guard will still come rescue me, Right?
Not very likely....see above for details...


Is there a problem if I use a BoatUS registered hand held in another country? I still have my FCC licenses.
No legal problem....just that nobody will have access to any of your info, especially not any way to verify if this is a legitimate "Distress" call or not.....see above for details...


I don't care if they don't have my BoatUS hand held VHF registration info in the international registry, I'll just have that info taped to the radio when they pick me or my body up.
See details above, and in the other thread, as to why an RCC needs the info that you have decided not to provide to them....
EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds!!


They may not have my ship's information but all the FCC would take was that it was a sloop, Big deal. No LOA, no hull color, or fancy graphics the PO put on the chines, how dumb is that FCC?
It's not an FCC database.....it is an international database, run by the ITU....
Your vessel details actually ARE included in the ITU database, if you provide them to the relevant authorities....
(assuming you properly registered your EPIRB and got an official MMSI # from your nation's governing authority, and properly filled out the forms) the ITU database DOES have your vessel's description, color, length, max number of persons, number of liferafts and/or lifeboats, radio equipment carried, radio callsign, MMSI #, EPIRB #, INMARSAT #, etc...as well as up to 8 - 10 shoreside / emergency contact phone numbers....addresses, etc.
(even if you cannot see this info as a private citizen, it is there in the ITU database...)


They can hail me as "boat in distress come back". If they don't speak English then what good is further voice communication? I imagine they can tell its a BoatUS MMSI so if they really want more info then one call to BoatUS will yield far more than the international registry.
Once you read over the other thread, and READ the articles that Beth wrote, I think you'll understand the fallacy of this assumption....
(no worries here Eric....there are many sailors that have this same false assumption...)



Another question: Like others I race and charter on other boats so again I could be in one of many countries with my hand held but not on my boat. Would not all coast guards get my BoatUS MMSI registered hand held distress call and initiate a rescue?
See details above....
but, in brief....yes other radios in range of your handheld (likely not many, as range from a handheld at water level is small), will get you DSC Distress message....but, "initiate a rescue"?? Once outside of US, CA, UK, AUS, NZ, etc. waters, this not very likely without some way to verify the Distress is legit....(again, see above and the other thread for details...)



Third question: My handheld, Standard Horizon HX851, allows me to transmit the nature of the distress with my distress button activation, eg; sinking, MOB, abandoning ship, even piracy! Would international coast guards also get this info which would aid or prompt them.
The "nature of distress" info would show up on shore stations GMDSS Consoles (or those GMDSS consoles of SOLAS vessels), IF they were in range of your handheld.....but other pleasure boat radios showing this unlikely (some might, but some won't).....so, in reality, the answer here is not likely that others will know the nature of your distress...
But, in the greater picture....it is not being able to verify if this is a legit Distress or not, which will be the determining factor on whether anyone will be responding to your Distress call....


Whats the downside to registering my hand helds with BoatUS MMSI's, legal or other?
See all above, for details...

Remember, I have a proper ship & operator license. Even if I get in trouble my main goal is to be saved!!! I'll sort everything else out later. Am I missing something?
If you "main goal is to be saved", then I advise you to do 2 things....
1) Understand that once outside of US waters (and a few other 1st world nations' waters), this is NOT like calling 911 on your phone....and that "rescue" is NOT a guarantee!!!

2) Program your FCC-issued MMSI# into your handheld radio....thereby giving you the best chance of a SAR response to any Distress call you make....

(please read the other thread and follow and READ the links there, so that what I wrote here will all start to make perfect sense!) EPIRB's are NOT dead! / EPIRB Activation? What happens/How to improve rescue odds!!

Understand I'm a BoatUS member, and I think they're a fine organization....but the real authority on Distress signaling, database searches, etc. is not BoatUS, but rather the IMO/ITU and the GMDSS system designers, COSPAS-SARSAT, etc....as well as the USCG, etc.....and these are places where the facts I posted here from....
Again, I have nothing against BoatUS, but the info that they provided you is inaccurate (or at best misleading), and I seriously advise you to read the facts for yourself....


Eric, I do hope this helps clarify things for you and others here...

And, PLEASE understand I mean on offense to any of those wonderful developing nations at all....it is just that what some of us in the US, etc. take for granted is not practical for so many poor nations of the world (even if they are prescribed to be doing something under int'l law/agreement, that doesn't mean that they CAN actually do it, whether for lack of funding, logistics, etc....in many places in the world, if you cannot get thru to a 1st world's RCC, you are not too likely to get an SAR response.....and that is a fact of life...)


Fair winds..

John
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Old 27-05-2015, 17:42   #19
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Re: MMSI for DSC-equipped VHF Handhelds (from a US perspective)

I am in the same quandary as Eric. I recently purchased a SH HX-870 with DSC and am deciding on the MMSI to program into the hh. I also have an FCC license with the FCC-assigned MMSI in the ship's radio, a SH GX-2150.

I think that I decided to program the 870 hh with a BoatUS-obtained MMSI. If I sail on another boat, I can edit the Boat US info easily with the correct boat information. If I charter a boat, I can also update the BoatUS database.

I sail the boundary waters of the PNW, like Eric. Here in the San Juan Islands of the US and Gulf Islands of BC, the US CG and the Canadian CG frequently talk with each other on channels 16/22A and cooperate with each other. I do not think there will be a problem having a BoatUS MMSI, especially if I buy a new boat. Then, I do not have to ship the 870 back to SH in California to clear out the MMSI - I can just update the boat info within BoatUS.

From Waggoner's Cruising Guide for the NW waters (in ref to having FCC licensing and the CG mutual cooperation):
While Canada is considered “international waters” which calls for an FCC Ship Station License, it is our understanding that Canada is not enforcing US regulations. Canada has also de-licensed recreational boaters. That does not mean they can not or will not require it if given reason to do so. If you proceed to operate in the shared waters without license you do so at your own risk. Under international treaties to which the US is a party, you are required to have an FCC license to transmit your radio in a foreign port. It is recommended for Mexico, Bahamas and the Caribbean etc. BoatUS and the GMDSS Task Force are working to have the FCC lift the rule for Canada and the Bahamas. Also, the U.S. & Canadian Coast Guard are working together to respond to any distresses in the border waters.
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Old 27-05-2015, 17:45   #20
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Re: MMSI for DSC-equipped VHF Handhelds (from a US perspective)

Ask Boat US to be certain but I believe their database is available to Canada authorities. So I think you will be ok.
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Old 27-05-2015, 23:44   #21
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Re: MMSI for DSC-equipped VHF Handhelds (from a US perspective)

Whew! That is alot of info John. Wish I had it a few days ago when I decided to register my HH with BoatUS, I might have gone the other way.

Your #1 comment has me perplexed. When I got my MMSI # for my ship station license for my fixed VHF there was no place to enter any description of the boat. If there was this may have influenced me not to use BoatUS. How is this done? I do not have an epirb as I don't go offshore. Is registering an epirb the only way to enter that info. All I have is a VHF.
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Old 29-05-2015, 10:58   #22
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Re: MMSI for DSC-equipped VHF Handhelds (from a US perspective)

You can search ITU yourself, to see the ship details related to an MMSI that are stored there. Emergency contact information is login protected.

Particulars of Ship stations

FCC Form 605 schedule B is where the ship radio service particulars are entered. No ship description is entered, only class ("pleasure"), boat name, and official number (documentation number or state reg. number). No particulars are entered, like "Catalina 36, white hull, black trim"). There is entry for survival craft and capacity at the bottom.

https://transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form605/605b.pdf

However, the BoatUS MMSI registration page does have an input text box for miscellaneous entry, like make/model, color, anything important, etc.
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Old 05-01-2016, 16:10   #23
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Re: MMSI for DSC-equipped VHF Handhelds (from a US perspective)

Santa brought me a HX870E (europe) Hand-held with DSC & GPS. So I have been looking into the MMSI to assign to the hand-held. If I read the ITU regulations correctly (ITU-R M.585-5 of 10/2009) in annex 5 they state that all the MMSI assigned to HH should be of the format 98MIDXXXX.
MID are the Maritime Identification Digits of the country and XXXX a number given by the coutry's authority. I thought that the number was a subset of the attached ships MMSI, but this is not the case as I understand.
I will see if what number I will be assigned for my HH.

If you want to look up the information in the ITU database for a given MMSI, you can access it here:
Particulars of Ship stations
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