MMSI, the Maritime Mobile Service Identity, at BoatUS, has expanded our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) to answer your questions regarding online difficulties, VHF radio questions and general questions about MMSI and how it pertains to your boat.
Questions are grouped by category, so please click on the appropriate question to view the answer. For additional information please contact us at MMSI@BoatUS.com
VHF Radio Questions
- I have more than one radio on my boat. Can they use the same MMSI number?
- I have a handheld radio on board my boat. Should it have its own MMSI number?
- I have a VHF Handheld with DSC capability. Can I register it for an MMSI through your website?
- I have an FCC license that is still valid. I am buying a new DSC capable VHF radio. Do I have to transfer the license or something to cover the new radio?
- I have a Ship Station License with an FCC assigned MMSI programmed into the radio. How do I transfer the FCC assigned MMSI# over to the new owner of the boat and programmed radio?
- I want to get an MMSI for my Portable Dive Radio. Will my BoatUS assigned MMSI be valid in Intenational waters?
Yes. If you have 2 radios on the same boat you may input the same MMSI number in both radios; however, if you plan to put one of the radios on board another vessel at some point in the future, it would be best to get a different number for it so that the registration can be updated to account for the different boat.
If you plan to use the handheld on other boats, you might want a separate MMSI number so that you can update the registration according to which boat it is currently on. If you plan to use it only on one boat, you can use the same MMSI number as the fixed radio.
If the handheld is for Marine use, yes; however you would need to keep the registration updated according to the specifics of which boat it is being used on. Reason being, the USCG could be misled in a distress situation thinking a distress came from a boat other than the one actually involved and could end up dispatching the wrong type of rescue unit or calling the wrong emergency contact in any particular situation. Also, it would be inappropriate to register handheld VHF if the intention is for over land use such as hiking. The Coast Guard will not be the appropriate response for this type of distress. Use of Marine VHF Radios on land is prohibited.
If you already have a valid FCC license, you should contact the FCC to get an MMSI. The BoatUS registry is intended for those not licensed or required to be FCC licensed.
Ship station licenses are not transferrable from one boat to another, but the FCC will offer a prorated refund for the years remaining on the ship station license should the owner cancel once the boat has been sold. BoatU.S. cannot assist with the MMSI transfer process for an FCC assigned MMSI in connection with a ship station license, but if the prior owner of the MMSI has cancelled the ship station license through the FCC, the MMSI can be transferred to the ship station license of the new owner of the vessel and programmed radio by contacting a licensing representative at 1-877-480-3201 (select opt 2 from menu). If the new owner is not required to carry a license but has confirmed the previous owner has cancelled his ship station license, it is safe to input the FCC assigned MMSI into the BoatUS database with the new owner information.
While you are using the unit in U.S. waters, the Coast Guard will receive your distress call and be able to initiate a rescue, but reponders in foreign waters may not react appropriately to a distress from this type of radio.