|·||A DSC radio|
|·||A Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number|
|·||A compatible GPS or Loran unit|
The MMSI is a unique nine
(9) digit number that is assigned to a DSC radio station. If the boater
has a valid Federal Communications Commission (FCC) station license or
plans to operate in international waters they need to contact the FCC to
get an MMSI. Otherwise, they can register with BoatU.S. or Sea Tow by
obtaining an MMSI Assignment form. Forms are available on the BoatU.S.
Web site http://www.boatus.com/mmsi
or by calling 1-800-563-1536 or on the Sea Tow Web site
Some important points to consider are;
|·||Each vessel you own needs to have a discrete MMSI to be properly identified.|
|·||The boater needs to keep their MMSI Assignment data current.|
|·||Depending on the make and model of the DSC radio, it may limit the number of times you can try to program your MMSI number into the radio. Typically the radios offer you two (2) chances before locking out future attempts forcing you to send the radio back to the manufacturer.|
DSC technology makes a VHF radio function more like a telephone. It allows boaters to send a digital call directly to another DSC equipped vessel or shore station.
|·||In an emergency, one push of a button and the DSC radio will send an automated digital distress alert consisting of your identification (MMSI), and position (if the radio is connected to a GPS or Loran unit) to other DSC equipped vessels and rescue facilities.|
|·||You can privately hail another DSC equipped vessel, or shore station, if you know their MMSI. It is similar to having a VHF phone number which “rings” the radio called and then automatically switches you to a pre-determined working channel.|
Rescue 21 is the Coast Guard
system that will provide the May Day response capability described
above. For more details on the Rescue 21 System and its availability in
your area visit
The Global Maritime distress and Safety System (GMDSS) is the international system governing safety radio equipment on commercial ships. For more information on GMDSS visit http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/gmdss.htm
This portion of our site contains links to several excellent boating safety sites with extensive information on boating safety topics.
Boatsafe.com is a commercial site that sells boating and navigation courses. Their website at http://www.boatsafe.com also provides a very extensive collection of free materials on safe boating tips and links to other sites with safe boating information. This site contains over 200 articles that you can access on-line as well as safe boating information for kids. Included is a complete basic boating course available on-line as well as information on a wide variety of boating safety issues. boat recalls, and marlinspike seamanship.
A non-commercial site that offers extensive boating safety information is Boatingsafety.com. This site is sponsored by Sea Tow Services International and does not accept commercial advertising. Here you will find databases, articles, safety information, and a section on rules and laws. Boatingsafety.com also has several discussion forums, hosted by professionals, and can respond to questions.
The U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety maintains a site devoted to boating safety at http://www.uscgboating.org. Check out the topics on the grey menu bar at the top of their home page.
The Washington Boating Safety Officers Association provides a nice web site specific to Washington boating at www.boatwashington.org. This site includes an on-line course in basic boating, tide and weather information for Washington and Canadian waters, information on pending boating legislation, and information on boat ramps, pump out facilities, moorage, etc.
We will be adding additional sources of information as time goes on. If you know of a site you found useful, please notify our web master at firstname.lastname@example.org.