Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Some important info on MMSIs...
So we get this e-mail from a lad in Washington State. It seems he has a DSC-capable marine VHF radio, which in itself is a very good thing. His MMSI however, was not issued by the American FCC, but rather by a private corporation known as BoatUS. It's all legal and above-board, but when an American boater gets an MMSI through these folks, it is ONLY ENTERED INTO THE USCG DATABASE.
He wanted to know if he would be okay (if his MMSI would be recognized) should he sail up the coast into BC waters. In fact, his MMSI would not be recognized and would come back as 'invalid', should he attempt to activate his DSC system up here.
So, if a boater intends to use his vessel uniquely in American waters, he ought to be alright. Otherwise, he really ought to get an MMSI through the FCC, as these are entered not only into the USCG database, but also in the International Search and Rescue database (ISU).
Here in Canada, MMSIs are issued solely by the federal government (Industry Canada) and as such are instantly entered into the CCG's database and the International one. Why someone would decide to cut corners when it comes to a system that's designed to save your life at sea, is well beyond my scope of understanding.