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MMSI - Recreational Boating - VHF w/DSC

Old 01-25-2014, 11:01 AM
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Default MMSI - Recreational Boating - VHF w/DSC

Ok...working on getting a Handheld VHF, yes my boat has a on-board VHF, and found this on the BoatUS site:

Registration Criteria

BoatUS has been authorized by both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Coast Guard to assign MMSI numbers only to vessels that meet the following criteria:

Used for recreation only
Not required by law to carry a radio
Do not make international voyages or communications

Do NOT Register with BoatUS MMSI if:

your vessel is required to carry a radio onboard (“Compulsory Equipped”)
you plan to visit or communicate in a foreign port including Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and the British Virgin Islands

If either of the above conditions apply, you are legally required to obtain a Ship Station License from the FCC. They will issue an appropriate MMSI with the License.

NOTE: when traveling to foreign ports, you are required to have a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit holder aboard.
Now, I went to the site and navigated everything..received my FCC FRN..but now they are asking Select radio Service for new license...I'm a little confused...please assist ;?

TIA
Old 01-26-2014, 07:15 AM
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Old 01-26-2014, 07:25 AM
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I found the MMSI folks at Boat US very helpful when I contacted them about transferring an MMSI account on a used boat / radio I had purchased. I knew "nothing" about the subject, and still have much to learn, but they hooked me up in no time and answered all my questions. I just sent them a quick email at MMSI@BOATUS.com Hope you have the same positive results I got!
Old 01-26-2014, 08:06 AM
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The last time I checked the station license was $110 and valid for 11 years.

I have an RTO license from my flying days and it used to be free. You can probably get an application form from the FCC website or at any flight school. There was no test. The application advised the rules for "Mayday," "PanPAN" and "Security" calls. You signed on the dotted line and in a couple weeks you had the license back. They just stamped the piece where you had entered your name. I expect the process is still the same except there will probably be a fee.

The station license rule will bring you into compliance with international rules. You are more likely to be hassled by non-US agencies unless you communicate with a foreign flag vessel ($eriou$ con$equence$) that is being watched for whatever reason. By way of example... In Lake Champlain there is a barge where you check in with Canadian Customs. If you don't have a license they will issue you a temporary one valid for Canadian waters only. If you decline, they warn you not to transmit except in an emergency.

Good Luck!
Old 01-26-2014, 08:16 AM
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you didn't explain why you went to the FCC. Assuming your hard mounted VHF has an MMSI number I think I would have used that number for the handheld as well. If your hard mounted VHF doesn't have DSC set up, I think it should as the greatly extended range would make it more useful in getting the DSC info out in case of need. So, is the boat in US waters? and if so then that's what I would concentrate on, having the safety of DSC where you mostly use the boat. If you travel to the Bahamas , see what other boaters are actually doing.
Old 01-26-2014, 08:37 AM
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Yes, not quite clear on your question. But I will take a guess.

If you are not going in international waters and want an MMSI, then go get the BOATUS Free MMSI number and you can program that same number into both your HandHeld VHF and Fixed VHF if they are both DSC radios.

If you will go into international waters, then you must (1) cancel your BoatUS MMSI number. (2) Get a USCG MMSI number (i think this is still free) and (3) because you will be using a VHF radio in International waters, you must go to FCC and get a radio station license (call sign). Probably about $110, no test. You get this number first and then add that to your MMSI application. Both of these numbers can also go on your EPIRB or PLB registration form also.

Then reprogram your VHF radios with the new MMSI number.

Hope that makes sense.
Old 01-26-2014, 11:34 AM
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Apologies that my question was not concise. I've posted various topics here for advise on my Bahama trip in June.

Based on the great advise here and what I've found, I've started putting together equipment needed for my boat and things I need to do before leaving.

The VHF on the vessel does not have DSC, and the new handheld I will be ordering does.

Since, I'm traveling to the Bahama's (see original post above in BOLD print), I assumed BoatUS could not help me and was directed to the FCC site.

Now, as in the original post..I got a FCC FRN number, but now they want me to select my service..I do not see VHF as an option.

Hope this clears things up some and thanks.

BTW, I've never had an MMSI number.
Old 01-26-2014, 01:39 PM
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Maritime Mobile Service - SA - Ship Recreational or Voluntarily Equipped
Old 01-26-2014, 11:18 PM
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Default MMSI on VHF

The reason for the MMSI in international waters is the database
http://www.itu.int/online/mms/mars/ship_search.sh

provided by the ITU.
The international rescue is using these data and has a password to look up the home address and contact details.
Wilhelm Alm
Old 01-27-2014, 07:31 AM
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Well, the whole reason for DSC is getting found. So weather or not you get properly registered for international waters I think you should get a new VHF (preferably with it's own gps) that has DSC and concentrate on that, not the handheld. The mounted VHF has 20 watts vs 5 watts for the handheld and more importantly the mounted 20 watt VHF has or should have a much better and taller antenna for a more useful range. And you should have an EPIRB. This is just my own opinion of what I would do.
Good luck on your trip, sounds like fun.
Old 01-27-2014, 08:05 AM
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Good Luck to you.

Are you trying to fill out Form 605 box 1?

If so it is I believe listed as a ship radio station and the code is SA for ship recreational voluntarily equipped.

You will be issued an MMSI number with the license and it is only for the vessel listed.

From a real world safety point I would take the $200 for the Handheld and the $110 for the license and spend it on a PLB. Check with regulars here who visit ofter, but I don't think they are strict about checking FCC licenses in Bahamas.
Old 01-27-2014, 08:10 AM
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I just did this last year...

I first had to register with the FCC and get a Registration Number (FRN) which you can do here https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do

I received the FRN instantaneously, and navigated to their Universal Licensing System (ULS) page. http://wireless.fcc.gov/uls/index.htm?job=home I used my FRN and password to login to the "Online Filing" section.

Then, I clicked on "Apply for a new license" from the menu on the left side.

To get the ship stations license I selected "SA or SB - Ship" and then followed the form. It was a $160 filing fee.

To get the restricted radio operator license I selected "RR - Restricted Operator" and then followed the form. It was a $60 filing fee.

Things may have changed since last year but this is what I did to get my boat set up.
Old 01-27-2014, 08:35 AM
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When I got my handheld with DSC I contacted BoatUS and they walked me right through the process for free.

The new boat however is just getting DSC hooked up this week and I was wondering if I would need a 2nd number. I am going to follow SaltyG's advise and program both units with the same number.

Last edited by demjjm; 01-27-2014 at 01:51 PM.
Old 01-27-2014, 08:54 AM
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Originally Posted by demjjm View Post
When I got my handheld with DSC I contacted BoatUS and they walked me right through the process with for free.

The new boat however is just getting DSC hooked up this week and I was wondering if I would need a 2nd number. I am going to follow SaltyG's advise and program both units with the same number.
First, thanks for all the replies...I'm taking all under consideration.

Demjjm,

If you look at my original post, I did goto. BoatUS, but because I am planning on going to Bahama's ... Their site says I could not use the free license procedure.

Thanks again
Old 05-15-2017, 09:54 PM
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Default Navigating the FCC Site and Obtaining your MMSI for International Traveler's ONLY!

When I recently purchased the new iCom M506 VHF, the radio requested at initial power on the input of an MMSI number. I froze as I was leaving the inlet on that important detail. So, I hope this helps?

This MMSI number requires an exhaustive hunt through the FCC's website to find the correct forms needed for completion to obtain the MMSI#.

For those reacreational boaters who like to travel by boat outside the USA you will find the instructions below. I did the best I could to help.

Caution....for those who may not be aware most VHF devices of newer generation only allow the input of the MMSI number one-time! The MMSI can be changed, but you will need an authorized dealer in order to have it reset. I have read where some VHF radios will give you a second try, or allow you to change it once, but if you want to get it right the first time...... this.

The process is simple to obtain the MMSI number and requires two basic forms you can fill out online to receive the FRN and the MMSI number. Form 159 and 605. 159 has to be done first to get your FRN and 605 has to use the FRN to complete and pay the fees.

Note: For recreational pleasure boats that DO NOT require a mandatory radio but have one that supports DSC, the cost I paid was $220 total for an international registration. This goes for anyone traveling outside the USA by boat who wants the extra protection of the DSC feature of your VHF.

Step 1: Navigate to https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/at...A-16-513A1.pdf

Step 2: Read the page real quickly......

Step 3: On page 3 select this embedded link. http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/ind...=ship_stations

Step 4: Read the page and then select the Licensing Tab...... https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-...radio-stations

Step 5: Scroll down to 5th paragraph and you will see 2 form types. 159 and 605

Since you are a new user, select this link to begin form 159 https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do

Step 6: Fill out and submit 159. https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do
Upon completion you will be given your FRN# immediately.
Note: Print that out, or save the number somewhere as you will need it to access the licensing portal.

Step 7: Open link to form 605. You will see the "Electronic Filing" link as a hyperlink to the required application page. http://wireless.fcc.gov/index.htm?job=online_filing

Step 8: Login into the online filing portal using your FRN and password created when completing form 159.
Note: Don't panic if email does not work. Use the FRN#. When I tried to use my email address instead of my FRN# it failed to authenticate me. It may take time to populate in their database, or more likely we may have to receive the MMSI number to authenticate via that method for future changes. Regardless, the FRN# and password worked perfectly.

Step 9: Fill out application. If you are unsure how to properly answer some of the questions, look to the right side of the page, and in the right most column there are FAQ's and options to choose to clarify acronyms etc.. helping you to choose correctly.;? Just take your time and read their explanations. BTW, you will get to a section regarding a ship number. Don't sweat it if you do not have one. You do not have to have a ship number to proceed.

Step 10: Complete the application and pay the man. You should receive your MMSI number in 24 hours or less.

When you receive your number I would advise laminating both the FRN # proof page and the MMSI# proof page and keeping one copy of each on boat.

I sure hope this helps someone. It is not hard, just a real pain to find all the links and proper steps to apply.

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Old 05-16-2017, 12:16 PM
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I would like to know of those that go to the Bahamas, who here has an FCC license? I have been going for sometime now and don't have one and don't know anyone else that has one either. Never been asked in Customs or Immigration in the Bahamas about it and never have had a problem. I think the Bahamas have more important things to worry about than a US FCC license. But, what do I know.
Old 05-16-2017, 08:01 PM
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Originally Posted by ArmyChief View Post
First, thanks for all the replies...I'm taking all under consideration.

Demjjm,

If you look at my original post, I did goto. BoatUS, but because I am planning on going to Bahama's ... Their site says I could not use the free license procedure.

Thanks again
Simple, don't tell them you're going to the bahamas.

Originally Posted by trit21 View Post
I would like to know of those that go to the Bahamas, who here has an FCC license? I have been going for sometime now and don't have one and don't know anyone else that has one either. Never been asked in Customs or Immigration in the Bahamas about it and never have had a problem. I think the Bahamas have more important things to worry about than a US FCC license. But, what do I know.
I didn't go through all that license stuff, for me the point of getting the MMSI was so I could send a DSC distress call and hopefully some one within range would see it and help and if I saw one I could possibly go to help.
Old 05-17-2017, 11:50 AM
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Check your instruction manual to be certain but I believe you can use the DSC distress feature without an MMSI. The receiving organization will have no info on you or your boat though. This data could be invaluable if they lose your signal since they have no 'door to pound on' to get more info on you and your plans.
Old 05-19-2017, 05:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Pelagic32720 View Post
When I recently purchased the new iCom M506 VHF, the radio requested at initial power on the input of an MMSI number. I froze as I was leaving the inlet on that important detail. So, I hope this helps?

This MMSI number requires an exhaustive hunt through the FCC's website to find the correct forms needed for completion to obtain the MMSI#.

For those reacreational boaters who like to travel by boat outside the USA you will find the instructions below. I did the best I could to help.

Caution....for those who may not be aware most VHF devices of newer generation only allow the input of the MMSI number one-time! The MMSI can be changed, but you will need an authorized dealer in order to have it reset. I have read where some VHF radios will give you a second try, or allow you to change it once, but if you want to get it right the first time...... this.

The process is simple to obtain the MMSI number and requires two basic forms you can fill out online to receive the FRN and the MMSI number. Form 159 and 605. 159 has to be done first to get your FRN and 605 has to use the FRN to complete and pay the fees.

Note: For recreational pleasure boats that DO NOT require a mandatory radio but have one that supports DSC, the cost I paid was $220 total for an international registration. This goes for anyone traveling outside the USA by boat who wants the extra protection of the DSC feature of your VHF.

Step 1: Navigate to https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/at...A-16-513A1.pdf

Step 2: Read the page real quickly......

Step 3: On page 3 select this embedded link. http://wireless.fcc.gov/services/ind...=ship_stations

Step 4: Read the page and then select the Licensing Tab...... https://www.fcc.gov/wireless/bureau-...radio-stations

Step 5: Scroll down to 5th paragraph and you will see 2 form types. 159 and 605

Since you are a new user, select this link to begin form 159 https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do

Step 6: Fill out and submit 159. https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do
Upon completion you will be given your FRN# immediately.
Note: Print that out, or save the number somewhere as you will need it to access the licensing portal.

Step 7: Open link to form 605. You will see the "Electronic Filing" link as a hyperlink to the required application page. http://wireless.fcc.gov/index.htm?job=online_filing

Step 8: Login into the online filing portal using your FRN and password created when completing form 159.
Note: Don't panic if email does not work. Use the FRN#. When I tried to use my email address instead of my FRN# it failed to authenticate me. It may take time to populate in their database, or more likely we may have to receive the MMSI number to authenticate via that method for future changes. Regardless, the FRN# and password worked perfectly.

Step 9: Fill out application. If you are unsure how to properly answer some of the questions, look to the right side of the page, and in the right most column there are FAQ's and options to choose to clarify acronyms etc.. helping you to choose correctly.;? Just take your time and read their explanations. BTW, you will get to a section regarding a ship number. Don't sweat it if you do not have one. You do not have to have a ship number to proceed.

Step 10: Complete the application and pay the man. You should receive your MMSI number in 24 hours or less.

When you receive your number I would advise laminating both the FRN # proof page and the MMSI# proof page and keeping one copy of each on boat.

I sure hope this helps someone. It is not hard, just a real pain to find all the links and proper steps to apply.

Thank you for posting this Sir!!!! I just went through the process, following your steps exactly, and took me about 25 min. I could only imagine how long this would have taken with these instructions and being a government website LOL
Old 05-20-2017, 04:40 PM
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In 2011 I wrote a similar article describing the process of applying for a SHIP STATION LICENSE with the FCC. See

http://continuouswave.com/ubb/Forum6/HTML/002990.html

Note that as of c.2015 the fee for a SHIP STATION LICENSE was $215. The term of the license is (and previously was) 10-years.

The FCC does not issue an MMSI except as an option for a SHIP STATION LICENSE.

Note that when operating a VHF Marine Band radio in foreign ports, it is not necessary to have ONE particular type of radiotelephone operator's license from the FCC, no matter how often this is erroneously mentioned. The radio operator of an American flagged recreational vessel must have AT LEAST the RESTRICTED RADIOTELEPHONE OPERATOR license, but the radio operator can also have more advanced operator's licenses.

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