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Old 12-01-2016, 14:35   #1
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MMSI International Number

Got a question for the international cruising pros. Just got new vhf/gps comp with DSC. I was signing up for my mmsi. Asked if I would ever be our of the country, I hate to say never but not for a while. Then was told had to get a number from the FCC for international, then a station license then a permit to use it. About $300 or more and four or five forms. Was told I could be fined if outside country without it. The ordinary mmsi is a domestic number and free and easy to get. What is the scoop, would the international number ever be useful. Anyone with info please chime in.
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Old 12-01-2016, 14:55   #2
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MMSI International Number

Yes, what you were told is correct, with the possible exception of a fine. While it might be that a fine can technically be assessed for not having a ships radio license, I can't imagine that ever being enforced, or even asked for. Also, the ships license contains the mmsi and possession of the license is permit to use it and the equipment, so the advice you were given implied more complication than necessary.

The problem with the "free" mmsi, however, lies in if you ever need to use it in an emergency. The database of these mmsi numbers is not shared internationally, so your registered data will not be available. It may be possible that those numbers aren't even recognized as valid by other radios or rescue resources, but that is speculation because I don't know.

Given that almost nobody uses their mmsi for any other reason than a possible emergency (there have been recent threads on this), it seems prudent to do it correctly.

We meet many cruising outside the US with a BoatUS mmsi who don't seem even remotely interested in using it to call others, etc (ie, all the functions besides the safety one). I don't think any of them understand the situation they are in.

Frankly, the registration of that block of "free" mmsi numbers assigned to BoatUS was a stupid mistake. It is only the US who has done this type of thing - the rest of the world uses international numbers.

BTW, everything that you may be concerned about regarding being outside the US without a proper mmsi is also valid for the VHF, AIS, epirb, etc, since they too need a ships radio license.

Mark
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Old 12-01-2016, 14:58   #3
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Re: MMSI International Number

... what Mark said ...

And what was discussed here lately: Ships License for AIS?

Carsten
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Old 12-01-2016, 14:59   #4
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Re: MMSI International Number

It's also worth noting that reprogramming most VHF/AIS etc with a different MMSI is a giant pain in the arse, often needing to return the unit to a dealer.

If you can afford it, it's worth getting the 'proper' MMSI number
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Old 12-01-2016, 15:05   #5
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Re: MMSI International Number

I bought a Horizon DSC VHF and had to program a MMSI. Frankly I don't recall where the number came from... but I programmed the unit. I don't recall paying a fee. Is the MMSI unrecognizable in US waters?
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Old 12-01-2016, 15:18   #6
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Re: MMSI International Number

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sandero View Post
I bought a Horizon DSC VHF and had to program a MMSI. Frankly I don't recall where the number came from... but I programmed the unit. I don't recall paying a fee. Is the MMSI unrecognizable in US waters?
Let's make this simple (AGAIN)

1. Free BoatUS MMSI #s only work in the US

2. Free BoatUS MMSI #s do not work for emergency purposes outside the US becauee they are not in the international database

3. If you hav a boat in the US and want to or plan to travel outside the US, thewn get the Federal mmsi # and ship station license

or read the link Carsten provided.
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Old 12-01-2016, 15:38   #7
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Re: MMSI International Number

My understanding is that if you got a domestic mmsi it will not be recognized outside of US, but I am no expert. In my case having a SSB on board, even though I don't know how to use it, will pretty much require I have the Ships Station License.
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Old 12-01-2016, 18:59   #8
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Re: MMSI International Number

Sorry about drifting off topic a bit!!

NatchezFirst,
Yes, you do need a Ships Station License and Operators License, for Maritime HF Radio ("SSB")....as well as for AIS, EPIRB, etc., and for any international voyages / communications....but...
But....have you a few minutes to learn something else???
Sorry about the thread drift!
Quote:
Originally Posted by NatchezFirst View Post
My understanding is that if you got a domestic mmsi it will not be recognized outside of US, but I am no expert. In my case having a SSB on board, even though I don't know how to use it, will pretty much require I have the Ships Station License.
Most sailors need to learn sailing, sail handling, navigation, anchoring, docking, mechanics, maintenance, etc. etc. etc....AND radio communications, too!!

You can learn almost all that you'll need to know, for FREE, by just watching some videos and reading some info....
If you read English well (assume most here can) and have a decent internet connection that you can watch standard-definition Youtube videos through, and have a few minutes to spare....well, you can learn how to use your "SSB" Radio...

And, if you can afford an hour or two, you will end-up knowing more than 90% of the sailors/cruisers out there!


Please have a look here, where you'll find a reference and links, to just about everything "communications" or "offshore weather" related....
Marine SSB Stuff (how-to better use / proeprly-install SSB, & troubleshoot RFI, etc.)


And, here are the videos that you will learn a LOT from!
(don't skimp, watch 'em all, and please watch 'em in order!!)


Assuming you have an Icom M-802, just watch this first Playlist and the one about Offshore Weather....if you have other "SSB" (a non-DSC SSB radio), then be sure to watch the Maritime HF Communications Playlist..

Icom M-802 Instruction Videos
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...rC-8QKVyMb4tVr


HF-DSC Communications
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ga2zYuPozhUXZX


Maritime HF Communications
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...ZDo_Jk3NB_Bt1y


Offshore Weather Info/Forecasts
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...zdjTJjHlChruyY




Sorry again about the thread drift!

Fair winds...

John
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