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Old 11-21-2015, 10:24 AM   #1
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Fcc mmsi

On Tuesday I decided to start the paperwork process for an FCC MMSI, ship radio station authorization, and operator license since I spend time in Canada. I used the online application tool that also determined the fees, that I paid online with a credit card. As of Friday evening, the process was complete with new MMSI and operator license. I entered the new MMSI into both radios and cancelled my BoatUS account. What I thought would be a bureaucratic paperwork and drawn out process was just the opposite, very easy and fast.
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Old 11-21-2015, 12:59 PM   #2
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Yup, pretty painless. Now if we could just send some of those people over to National Vessel Documentation Center to straighten them out.

Ted
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Old 11-21-2015, 02:17 PM   #3
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I do my USCG documentation renewal online. It worked smoothly and I got my new Doc Certificate in the mail in about a week. I think they're improving the process...at least for renewals.
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Old 11-21-2015, 05:18 PM   #4
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A simple name change where everything else remained the same is expected to take 6 months.

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Old 12-06-2015, 10:43 AM   #5
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Hello. I am just starting this process and had a few questions. I recently purchased a used trawler. Do I need access to the existing MMSI number from the previous owner? Does the EPIRB need to be reassigned too?
Also, the boat does not have AIS but I plan to add it. The purchasing process of the AIS unit requires a MMSI too.

I sure don't want to get off on the wrong foot w/ regards to registering/obtaining new MMSI number(s)

I must admit, I am overwhelmed by this entire process.

Thanks in advance,

Pat
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Old 12-06-2015, 10:53 AM   #6
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PatMac: The previous owner should complete a FCC 605 form showing he is no longer the owner. A new MMSI # should be applied for and all devices reassigned. The MMSI provides information on you as an individual. For instance if the EPIRB was deployed the first thing that happens is contact with the individual and/or designated contact person shown on the MMSI application for that ship's devices. If that is not you and / your application a lot of time will be wasted before they start searching for your EPIRB.
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Old 12-06-2015, 03:12 PM   #7
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Ulysses: I spoke with the previous owner and he state I should just take care of it online. He did not offer to do anything to assist.

Is it possible for me, the new owner, to initiate this transfer or, is this something only the person on record can do?

Thanks in advance,
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:19 AM   #8
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Don't think of it as a transfer. Instead, you're simply getting a new MMSI and (ideally) plugging it into your equipment.

Go to the FCC website yourself and get an operators license and VHF/MMSI/etc etc etc license. Once that's done, work with your radio and EPIRB manufacturers to get your new MMSI loaded into the device. (No sure about EPIRBs, but some (many? most?) VHFs only allow very few edits once an MMSI has been entered. Your manual will likely provide guidance -- as will your EPIRB manual, I suspect -- but you can contact makers direct for assistance, if necessary.

Doesn't much matter what happens to the seller's MMSI, although he really should deactivate it. Whether he does or doesn't shouldn't affect you.


The "Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's Permit" is FFC form 605-FRC. The Radio Station Authorization is FCC-605-S and the class you probably want is "SA - Ship Recreational or Voluntarily Equipped".

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Old 12-07-2015, 10:00 AM   #9
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How it might effect you if the seller does not make notification is that it is doubtful that they will issue two different ship station licenses to the same vessel. The vessel's documentation number is part of the FCC station license (MMSI) therefore you may have to provide proof of new ownership.
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:05 AM   #10
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Hmm... good point.


I wonder if FCC checks. And then I'd also wonder if they check ownership paperwork for any un-documented (e.g., state registered) vessels...


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Old 12-07-2015, 11:14 AM   #11
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I would like to think that their computer program would check for duplicate name and "official ship number". I may be wrong though, I was once before. The license requires the "official ship number" which I assume on non-documented vessels to be the Hull ID #
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Old 12-07-2015, 11:32 AM   #12
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PatMac: I have done a little research on this subject because it does get somewhat confusing. First is it you intent to operate the vessel in any countries outside the US ? Has the vessel been operated in any areas outside the US ? In other words do you think the previous owner got his MMSI assigned by someone like Boat US which can only assign a MMSI for vessels in US waters ONLY. The difference being the data base used. Vessels that may operate outside of US waters should be assigned a # from the FCC and that information is provided to an international search and rescue data base.

If the previous owner only licensed through an electronics dealer and you are not planning to go outside of US you may be able to take all your devices into a dealer and have a new # programmed and assigned.
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Old 12-07-2015, 08:15 PM   #13
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The MMSI number is supposed to stay with the boat across owners. Unfortunately the various issuing agencies and systems don't make that very easy. All seem to have bee built with an eye towards issuing numbers and not so much towards boats that change ownership.

In contrast, an FCC Ship's Station license DOES NOT follow the ship, but rather terminates when ownership changes. Actually, you need to cancel it when you sell your boat.

I haven't tried this myself, but I believe both BoatUS and the FCC provide a way to pick up an existing MMSI number and carry it forward to a new owner. If you buy a boat that has one already assigned, this is what you should do.

The other thing you need to do if you buy a boat with AIS is go in and change the broadcast boat info on the AIS. Unfortunately, lots of people seem to just ignore it all. I have owned and sold two boats with AIS, and both are still running around broadcasting themselves under the original name I gave the boat. One of them has changed hands 3 or more times and been renamed each time, but it still broadcasts itself as my original boat name.

There has been lots of effort to get AIS out there and used with good info, and now that those boats are changing hands, the data is getting all messed up again.
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