Question For Everyone with MMSI Numbers

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by THJeff, May 23, 2018.

How did you apply for your MMSI Number?

  1. Through a 3rd Party Site like BoatUS, Sea Tow or USPS

    27 vote(s)
    87.1%
  2. Through the FCC with Ship Radio Station License

    4 vote(s)
    12.9%
  1. THJeff

    THJeff Member SILVER Sponsor

    236
    Jan 4, 2012
    Rochester Hills, MI/Belle Maer Harbor/Club Island
    2000 410 Sundancer
    CAT 3126 Diesels
    Some of you have seen our discussion on the Lake St. Clair Peeps thread, but I thought I'd open it to everyone on the Great Lakes. Did you apply for your MMSI number from the FCC or from a site such as BoatUS or US Power Squadrons? I ask because since we are on international waters, it is possible to communicate with or visit a Canadian port and any vessels that communicate with or visit foreign ports must obtain their MMSI number directly from the FCC. I'm curious how many actually followed this process.
     
    Ezsteps likes this.
  2. ttmott

    ttmott Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    The MMSI is regulated by the International Telecommunications Union which is based out of Geneva. If you are going to operate your vessel in US waters and are a recreational boater then you can obtain an MMSI for your VHF through Boat US or others. If you are a recreational boater and operate your vessel outside of US waters or are a Professional mariner you then must apply to the FCC and obtain what is called a "Ship Station License". My last boat's VHF and AIS was issued an MMSI and I used the boat in foreign ports. I never did use DSC in foreign waters or much at all for that matter.
     
  3. THJeff

    THJeff Member SILVER Sponsor

    236
    Jan 4, 2012
    Rochester Hills, MI/Belle Maer Harbor/Club Island
    2000 410 Sundancer
    CAT 3126 Diesels
    Thank you. Perhaps I wasn't clear in why I was asking. I understand the rules you state but would like feedback from boaters who are regularly in international waters as we are here in the Great Lakes region. I hear chatter from the Canada Coast Guard located in Sarnia, Ontario just as much as I hear the USCG at our various local stations and I've operated my vessel in Canadian waters many times. There is quite a cost difference, ($25 vs $220) so I'm just wondering if anyone in the area has gone the FCC route if they occasionally visit our neighbors in Canada.
     
  4. carterchapman

    carterchapman Well-Known Member TECHNICAL Contributor SILVER Sponsor

    Mar 25, 2008
    Lake Chickamauga/Marietta, GA/Ft. Myers, FL
    2006 Sea Ray 58 DB
    MAN CRM V8-900s, Twin Disc Drives; Onan 21.5 Generator
    $220 is correct for the FCC version.
     
  5. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 8212, 741 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    Jeff, I found an interesting answer in the FAQ's on BoatUS's site:

    While Canada is considered “international waters” which calls for an FCC Ship Station License, it is our understanding that Canada is not enforcing US regulations. Canada has also de-licensed recreational boaters. That does not mean they can not or will not require it if given reason to do so. If you proceed to operate in the shared waters without license you do so at your own risk. Under international treaties to which the US is a party, you are required to have an FCC license to transmit your radio in a foreign port. It is recommended for Mexico, Bahamas and the Caribbean etc. BoatUS and the GMDSS Task Force are working to have the FCC lift the rule for Canada and the Bahamas. Also, the U.S. & Canadian Coast Guard are working together to respond to any distresses in the border waters.
     
    THJeff likes this.
  6. ttmott

    ttmott Well-Known Member GOLD Sponsor

    Apr 3, 2012
    Space Coast Florida
    2006 52 Sedan Bridge
    Cummins QSM11
    Ok sorry about that - There is nothing wrong with having an MMSI on your VHF no matter where you are. I believe the issue becomes that you may not be recognized outside of US FCC jurisdiction. I had thought that Canada was good with the US FCC requirements. The regulations actually state "foreign ports" but I believe nothing about "waters" if that means anything.
     
    THJeff likes this.
  7. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    We're on Lake Ontario. We go to Canada maybe once or twice a year but the rule was fuzzy and I figured for a couple hundred bucks I would just register the FCC one. I try not to skimp on safety stuff and said to myself if I had to hit that red button while over the border I wouldn't be happy about saving ~$200 while the boat is going down. The truth is I'm sure the Canadian guys would respond just fine regardless, but this way I didn't have to worry about it
     
    THJeff likes this.
  8. THJeff

    THJeff Member SILVER Sponsor

    236
    Jan 4, 2012
    Rochester Hills, MI/Belle Maer Harbor/Club Island
    2000 410 Sundancer
    CAT 3126 Diesels
    Those are generally my thoughts as well. Thanks for your input.
     
  9. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    No problem. This did make me just think about the PLB we have on board. I registered it in the US, but I should probably check and see if there is anything I need to do with Canada.
     
  10. LTD.330

    LTD.330 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 5, 2009
    Lake Erie
    1999 Sundancer 330
    7.4 MPI
    I'm in Lake Erie Islands area and spend nearly 100% of my time in US waters. We've ventured up to Lake St. Clair in the past and assuredly crossed into Canadian waters.

    That said, we don't have any intention of visiting a Canadian port, I used BoatUS to obtain my MMSI number last fall when I upgraded the VHF with a built in GPS. I concluded that if I have to press the red button, may as well transmit my location as that would be more useful than an MMSI number by itself which just aids in identification after the fact. And as Strecker mentioned, even if I had to press the button in Canadian waters, I'm sure the Canadian CG would attempt the rescue.
     
  11. Strecker25

    Strecker25 Well-Known Member SILVER Sponsor

    Nov 20, 2014
    Rochester, NY
    1998 290 Sundancer
    Twin 5.7EFI/Alphas, Kohler 4kw
    I did the same thing. We bought the Standard Horizon model with built in GPS. I really like it, and it was only like $200. I'm adding an external speaker though, the built in one sucks
     
  12. Doc O Rock

    Doc O Rock Member GOLD Sponsor

    216
    Mar 23, 2016
    Lake St Clair, Belle Maer Harbor
    1999 380 Sundancer
    twin 7.4 Merc
    I heard a mmsi distress over the Memorial Day weekend, maybe even memorial day. The Sarnia Station of the Canadian coastguard where the first to sound off trying to hail the vessel. The Detroit district coastguard followed some time later. I never heard a reply from a boat though.
     
  13. 400 EC Michigan

    400 EC Michigan Member

    33
    Aug 21, 2010
    Lake Huron (homeport Lexington, Michigan)
    1997 450 Sundancer
    Twin Garmin 8012 units
    Garmin Fantom Open Array
    ICOM M604
    Raymarine autopilot
    Caterpillar 3126
    There were several distress calls in the Detroit and Port Huron/ Sarnia area over the Memorial Day weekend. One was a disabled vessel in Lake Huron between Lexington and Port Sanilac.. the US Coast Guard responded and brought the disabled vessel into the Lexington Harbor arriving around 11:00pm. Since you were not located closer to the disabled vessel you were only able to hear one side of the conversation from the USCG transmission.
     
  14. Doc O Rock

    Doc O Rock Member GOLD Sponsor

    216
    Mar 23, 2016
    Lake St Clair, Belle Maer Harbor
    1999 380 Sundancer
    twin 7.4 Merc
    I thought the CG doesn't do tows anymore. But that's why I have Tow Boat insurance.
     
  15. 400 EC Michigan

    400 EC Michigan Member

    33
    Aug 21, 2010
    Lake Huron (homeport Lexington, Michigan)
    1997 450 Sundancer
    Twin Garmin 8012 units
    Garmin Fantom Open Array
    ICOM M604
    Raymarine autopilot
    Caterpillar 3126
    I didn’t think so either! Especially when there is a tow boat at the Port Sanilac harbor. But they towed them in with the nice 42 foot response boat based out of Fort Grstiot by the Bluewater Bridge. Placed them alongside the fuel dock at the state marina and took off into the dark. I am sure there i# more to the story but they did toe them to Lexington.
     
  16. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 8212, 741 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    They'll tow when safety is involved, but if you run out of gas on a nice day, don't even bother.
     
  17. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 8212, 741 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    I did some more reading about using a U.S. MMSI in Canada. I found several suggestions that the C.C.G isn't concerned with pleasureboat compliance. That makes sense, in light of the relaxation of U.S./Canadian VHF communications. I don't believe everything I read on the internet however, so I sent a simple inquiry to the an "info" email address I found on the C.C.G. website. I got an auto-response promising a real response, but I have yet to get one. I'm assuming they don't know, or don't care.
     
  18. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 8212, 741 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    I spoke too soon. Received this:

     
  19. RollerCoastr

    RollerCoastr Well-Known Member

    Nov 15, 2007
    Cedar Point, OH / Miami, FL / MacRay Harbor, MI
    1997 400DA
    340HP 7.4 Mercruiser Bluewaters
    Garmin 8212, 741 24HD, Intellian I2
    1999 280BR
    Twin 250HP Merc 350 Alpha Ones
    I received a friendly call from that department within hours of submitting my inquiry.

    That was the good news. The bad news is that they couldn't provide information either, because they're not an "enforcing body".

    She referred me to Canada Border Services agency, but I'm not sure I'll continue to pursue this. Not only is it part of a massive, confusing bureaucracy, but it's part of two. The agent from ISEDC even laughed and said, "it probably just comes down to who you talk to, and how you talk to them".

    I agree. I don't regret not buying a license. I don't plan to make any private DSC calls to the CCG, but if I'm sinking in Canadian waters, I won't hesitate to hit that Distress button.
     
    Ezsteps likes this.
  20. LTD.330

    LTD.330 Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    Oct 5, 2009
    Lake Erie
    1999 Sundancer 330
    7.4 MPI
    Exactly. The CCG isn't going to lookup the MMSI number to determine if they will respond to a distress call. If they receive a DSC Distress Call they will respond.

    The MMSI# will be sorted out later.
     
    RollerCoastr likes this.

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