Boat US MMSI, just do it!
I was pleased to get an automated e-mail from Boat U.S. last week reminding me to update the registration info associated with the MMSI number I got through its Web site a couple of years back. It’s really important to keep this data current as the rescue authorities will use it if you ever make a DSC distress call with your VHF (or SSB) radio. Bad info can lead to wasted rescue resources, or worse. I haven’t moved or changed phone numbers, but adding more alternate numbers was easy, as was getting the free number in the first place. If you are one of the many who have a DSC radio but still haven’t gotten an MMSI number, for goodness sake do it! While it’s true that the U.S.C.G. hasn’t fully enabled its DSC listening system yet, it’s very likely that someone will hear you if you hold down that red button. Note that if you plan to take your boat outside the U.S. you should get your MMSI from the FCC, along with the needed VHF and other radio licenses. Otherwise, your MMSI will not be added to the international database. Tim Hasson of Marine Computer Systems has some good information about that whole FCC process here.