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Question about the MMSI number

Old 09-23-2008, 02:59 PM
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Default Question about the MMSI number

If the VHF radio has an MMSI number and I switch the radio to another boat, is this a problem at all?

My thought is to get into boatus.com to the DSC part and change the information to fit the new boat.

Is this all there is to it?
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:13 PM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

Yep, that's it!
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

....and if I sell the boat and radio, the new owner does the same thing by changing contact information, etc?
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Old 09-23-2008, 03:29 PM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

The new owner should register for his own MMSI #, and you should update yours with your new boat/radio info.

But, I always wondered about this, because most VHF radios have limits (ussually 3 times) on how many times you can program/change the MMSI # on them. You have to send to manufacturer to be cleared/reset to program again. I don't know why they do this, but it must be a rule for some reason, can't see it being a technical limitation.


Here is the Regi link: https://www.boatus.com/mmsi/default.asp


.
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Old 09-23-2008, 04:48 PM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

Birdman - 9/23/2008 5:29 PM

The new owner should register for his own MMSI #, and you should update yours with your new boat/radio info.
Here is the Regi link: https://www.boatus.com/mmsi/default.asp
.
hmm, why would the new owner need to register for his own number? ....or is it something that's easy because it's EASY for me to cancel the old one?

Why not have the new owner just change the information to suit his profile while keeping the original number? In other words, change Name from Bamaboy to Birdman, boat name from SandyOne to Machria, contact name from My barkeeper to Your barkeeper? etc? Can that be done easier?
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Old 09-24-2008, 04:47 AM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

anybody got the answer? There isn't anything on the BoatUS FAQ, so who would know?
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Old 09-24-2008, 05:20 AM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

i believe that the change of registration info is the easiest. i know that my radio (icom) will only give one reset before it has to be sent back to the factory for update. it's a 2002 model so i don't know if that is changed now. if we end up moving up in 2009, i will change the reg info to some temporary placeholders and give the login info to the buyer. i think you can send an email to boatus support and check out the details. ron
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Old 09-24-2008, 06:05 AM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

Thanks, Ron. I agree about just changing the registration information. Haven't heard back from BoatUS about it yet, hence my questions to the forum experts....some of whom might be BoatUS people.
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Old 09-24-2008, 08:02 AM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

My radio was stolen, with my mmsi still in it. I'm just waiting to here a call from the Coast Guard that its sending a distress call. [COLD]
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Old 09-24-2008, 10:55 AM
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Default RE: Question about the MMSI number

The whole purpose of the MMSI system is that the number is registered to the vessel, so that in the event of an emergency the rescue services know which vessel it is from and can pull up the relevant information to assist with the rescue effort, this is set in international maritime law. It is a common mistake to think that the number is registered to a person, if you sell you boat you should ideally sell the vhf as part of the package or pass on the MMSI to the new owner to place into their own VHF set. If you keep a VHF set from a boat you have sold you must ensure that you put in a new MMSI for any future boat that fit it to. Here in the EU MMSI vhf sets have been common place for a number of years and most boat owners will sell their boats with the VHF as it is a lot of bother and expense to get the set reset to allow the input of a new MMSI. If you own a hand-held MMSI set that also is only meant to be used on the boat that it is registered to.

hope that all make sense, here are some links to international MMSI regulations

http://www.falmouthyachtbrokers.co.uk/mmsi/
http://www.itu.int/cgi-bin/htsh/mars/ship_search.sh
http://www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/gmdss.pdf


Simon L
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Old 09-24-2008, 11:08 AM
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Default RE: Question about the MMSI number

britboard - 9/24/2008 1:55 PM

The whole purpose of the MMSI system is that the number is registered to the vessel, so that in the event of an emergency the rescue services know which vessel it is from and can pull up the relevant information to assist with the rescue effort, this is set in international maritime law. It is a common mistake to think that the number is registered to a person, if you sell you boat you should ideally sell the vhf as part of the package or pass on the MMSI to the new owner to place into their own VHF set. If you keep a VHF set from a boat you have sold you must ensure that you put in a new MMSI for any future boat that fit it to. Here in the EU MMSI vhf sets have been common place for a number of years and most boat owners will sell their boats with the VHF as it is a lot of bother and expense to get the set reset to allow the input of a new MMSI. If you own a hand-held MMSI set that also is only meant to be used on the boat that it is registered to.

hope that all make sense, here are some links to international MMSI regulations

http://www.falmouthyachtbrokers.co.uk/mmsi/
http://www.itu.int/cgi-bin/htsh/mars/ship_search.sh
http://www.mcga.gov.uk/c4mca/gmdss.pdf


Simon L

Britboard,
Your statement is tru in "theory", but it is NOT tru in law, or in the way you are "supposed" to manage an MMSI #. By this I mean, you are correct that yo uregister an MMSI # to a vessel really, not a person. BUT, the person registering it is responsible for the MMSI# and it's use. Where the problem lies, is how in the word would a seller be able to manage an MMSI # on a boat that was sold to a dealer or broker, to be resold anywhere in the world. How woudl that person give this info, login info (in what language....) to a possible buyer?

You can see, that is really not possible or reasonable in most cases. It is the BUYERS responsibilty to REREGSISTER for his own NEW MMSI # and program the radio in the boat which he/she now owns and is reponsible for.

By the way, althoug ALL radio I have seen say "you can only program the MMSI # 2 or 3 times", I have personally programmed an Icom I have about 6 times. I can still go into the programming, and change it again if I want. So I'm not 100% convinced they really do get "locked". Anyone ever have to send there radio in to get "reset" or MMSI # unlocked?

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Old 09-24-2008, 12:04 PM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

There is a lot of confusion about the MMSI.

In the USA, there are TWO ways to get a number. Through the FCC and through BoatUS/Seatow. If you apply for a FCC marine radio license, then you should get an FCC issued MMSI.

In the case of the FCC issued MMSI, I think it is linked to your license. And your boat. If you have more than one boat I do not know what happens. I would assume that you get another number, either through a second ship radio license OR via BoatUS / Seatow. There are two marine radio licenses (or at least there used to be two licenses), one to authorize stuff in the boat and one to authorize a person to use the stuff in the boat.

By the way, in the USA the FCC MMSI is the only one registered internationally. Since US boaters are required to have a FCC license if they plan to venture to foreign ports (I know - a lot of people do not do this and frankly I do not care nor do I want to turn this into a radio license / FCC law thread) only the FCC registers MMSI numbers with the international body that deals with such things.

BoatUS / Seatow gives US boaters free numbers, but these numbers are only registered with the USCG. This is why the BoatUS page clearly says that Canadian boaters can not use their service. It is not that BoatUS / Seatow hates Canada - it is just that a MMSI number given out by either company will not turn up in the Canadian Coast Guard database. They will still get the distress call, they will just not know anything about the boat.

If you have a FCC issued license, then before selling it you should send the radios back to have them reset, or remove the equipment from the boat. The new owner needs to get their own license. I think. Alternatively, you can enter a MMSI of all 0s into the radio - but depending on if your radio allows you to enter a number 2 or 3 times this may result in it being locked. In either case, inform the buyer as to what you plan to do. Radio equipment is not expensive (unless you are talking about single side band sets) but I would be a little pissed if I bought a boat thinking that the radio that was worth $150 new - and maybe half that used - was removed before the deal was finished. But if I was told in advance no big deal. Radios are not terribly expensive, and as far as general boat expenses go radios are small potatoes.

Unless you can transfer the ship radio license, and ship radio license FCC issued MMSI number, to the new owner. The FCC changes its license rules from time to time and I do not keep up with that stuff - so I do not know what the deal is right now. I do not need a license so I do not have one.

Now if you do not plan to go to a foreign port, or just do not want to deal with the FCC, you can get a BoatUS / Seatow issued MMSI (keeping in mind the number will only be registered in the USA and not internationally). In this case there are a few things you can do.

1. Sell the boat with the radio in it, giving the new owner your login and password to the MMSI info on BoatUS / Seatow. I would use my laptop to log onto the MMSI account, with the new owner there, and change the important things like phone number and email address and all - just in case the new owner does not care and then one day I am called about a distress activation for a boat I no longer own. The new owner can then reset the MMSI account password and stuff.

2. Remove the radio, install it in your new boat, change the MMSI info to reflect the new boat registration number and all. This is what I did when I sold one boat and got another.

3. Send the radio back for a reset before you sell it.

4. Enter all 0s and then let the new owner deal with it.

As I said when I sold my old boat I removed the VHF from it. The new boat came with a non DSC radio in it so that set went in the old boat. I then changed the MMSI info on BoatUS to show the new FL number and changed the boat description. I also changed the boat description when I had the t-top installed.

What I DO NOT KNOW is what happens if I wipe a radio - never change the BoatUS info - then sell it. What happens when the new owner tries to get a new MMSI for a boat that is already showing in the database? Got me! So I just removed the DSC equipped radio and changed the MMSI to reflect the new FL number from the replacement boat. Would the application get kicked because the vessel registration number is already in the database?

I do not know.

Anyhow to answer the original question - no. I do not think that would be a problem at all. That is exactly what I did.

Ill let you know how well it works if I ever have to use the DSC function to call for help. So hopefully Ill never be able to tell you how well it worked.
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Old 09-24-2008, 12:29 PM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

Thanks for the thoughtful education, Lazy. I'm going to do the same thing as you did since the radio never got an FCC number.
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Old 09-25-2008, 09:44 AM
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Default RE: Question about the MMSI number

Its interesting what you guys are all replying with, i can only assume that your agencies are handling the process in a different way to over here. I'll try to explain how we go about it here to try and get a comparison. I'll be interested in the replies as the whole GDMSS system hopefuly should have been standardized worldwide and if there are differences in the way it is being carried out, i would like to know as it would help in my role as a volunteer lifeboat-man.

Buy a boat. fit a DSC VHF. Apply for a MMSI# from our telecoms body, giving all the vessel details and a photo which is stored on the ITU web-site for any international coastguard agency to call up and view. This is free and can be done on-line and is registered to the vessel and is non-transferable. If ever i sell the boat i inform the telecoms body of the new owners details under my responsibility to manage the MMSI#. If it was sold abroad then i wipe the MMSI# from the set and then i tell the body and the MMSI# gets cancelled but not removed from the system to ensure that it is not mis-used, and the new owner is responsible to register the DCS VHF set in their own country with a new MMSI# or use it only as a standard VHF. If i retain the DSC VHF and fit it to another boat i would have to apply for a new MMSI# for that boat, if i used the DSC VHF on the old MMSI# in the new boat i would be fined as it would be classified as an illegal transmitting device.
I have to have a separate licence to operate any VHF set, DSC or not which is a day course at a licensing centre and covers me for life.
The MMSI# is configured so that the first 3 digits state the country of registration the code for the UK is 235, so if i brought my boat to a US port it wouldn't matter, the coastguard would know i'm only visiting. If i decided to stay forever (if only, somewhere in the Keys would be nice) then i would have to tell the UK body that i have exported the boat and apply in the US for a US MMSI#.

Interested to see how that fits with your system.

Simon L
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Old 09-26-2008, 01:41 PM
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Default Re: Question about the MMSI number

In the US, most people sell there boat, with the Radio in it, and the old MMSI # also stiill programmed into it(or zeroe'd out). When they buy a new boat and radio, they put that some "old" MMSI # into the new radio, and update their MMSI# registration info on the BoatUS website to match their new boat info.

The new boat owner(who purchased your old boat) is then responsible to apply for a new MMSI#, and program it into his radio (over writing your old mmsi# or the zero's you put in it). Pretty simple.

BUT, it isn't documented anywhere on the FCC site, USCG site, Boat US MMSI site. Pretty STUPID!! They should define clearly how this should be done.

I never understood why MMSI#'s are not PRE-PROGRAMMED ijnto every DSC capable VHF radio that is sold. Like a serial #. So when you buy it, you simply go online and register the # with your name, address and boat info. Why allow a radio's # to be changed? Doesn't make any sense really. And then, even worse, LIMIT the # of times it can be changed. Doesn't make much sense to me.
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