If you have VHF radio(s) on your boat, then you should have a Maritime
Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number, and it should be entered into
your radio(s) and connected to your Global Positioning System (GPS).
Should a distress call ever be necessary, properly registered, entered
and GPS-connected MMSI numbers in your VHF radio(s) automatically
provide push button, “goof proof” information about the boat, position,
safety equipment onboard, the operator, as well as contact information
so folks know your whereabouts. See more info and links at Grady-White Customer Tips.
All fixed-mount VHF radios manufactured in the United States since
1999 have digital selective calling (DSC) capability. The easily
identified red button transmits the DSC information directly to the
Registering for and receiving your MMSI number is easy. Recreational
vessels used solely in domestic U.S. waters that do not require a FCC
station license may obtain a MMSI form (click here to find links on our website).
MMSI numbers are issued by the Federal Communications Commission to
vessels that operate in international waters and require a station
license. This includes Canada, the Bahamas and Mexico.
If you have a VHF radio and a GPS, then the position information from
the GPS should be input to the radio via NMEA0183 data bus connection
(standard National Marine Electronics Association digital transmission
protocol for sharing data among multiple units). This will allow the
radio to transmit your position when sending a distress signal using the
GPS should talk/be input to the radio with NMEA0183 connections. Your dealer
can help. This simple step will allow the VHF to include your position
in any distress signal sent using push button DSC capability.
In a recent marine safety alert, the Coast Guard reports that
approximately 60% of the VHF marine radios from which they have received
distress calls DID NOT have a registered MMSI number and it was further
reported that 90% of the distress alerts they receive DID NOT include
position information. Without this vital information, the Coast Guard
may suspend search and rescue efforts if no other means of communicating
and contacting the boat can be established.
So register your VHF and get your MMSI number. This is easy, doesn't
take much time, and assists in quicker response in an emergency. We've
put links to more on this subject in our website, so click here. It's a no-brainer. Register your VHF radio and connect your GPS to it!
-Thanks to Brian Hodson of the Tidewater Grady Club (sponsored by
Norfolk Marine in Norfolk, VA) for providing us with the prompt to
include this important safety article in Docklines.
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