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Old 03-11-2014, 05:23 PM   #1
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MMSI and Bahamas

I'm thinking of getting an MMSI free from Boatus. I see on the web page that in order to operate a radio in international waters you need a radio card from the FCC so they issue the MMSI number?
Question any body get an MMSI number and have trouble in the Bahamas? That is where I intend to cruise to.
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:32 PM   #2
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My MMSI number came from Boat US. Never thought about it in the Bahamas.
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Old 03-11-2014, 05:43 PM   #3
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The MMSI is a national number which is useable anywhere in the world. It ID's you and your vessel both for personal use, but more importantly for SAR purposes when you use a DSC DEVICE. All VHF radio equipped vessels should, no must have one. Bill
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:20 PM   #4
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Blue Heron you are correct....
Right from BoatUS website...as they provide "special MMSIs"....


BoatUS has been authorized by both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Coast Guard to assign MMSI numbers only to vessels that meet the following criteria:


  • Used for recreation only
  • Not required by law to carry a radio
  • Do not make international voyages or communications
MMSI Registration - Maritime Mobile Service Identity - BoatUS
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Old 03-11-2014, 06:31 PM   #5
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You can just go on line to the somewhat confusing FCC website and do it.
That way you are covered world wide, including Canada and the Bahamas.
(because we are still negotiating how many states they would get.
I'm thinking 8 for Canada, 1 for the Bahamas and 8 for Mexico.)
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:33 PM   #6
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I actually found it very easy to get the MMSI and radio license from the FCC. If you are going outside the US you will want to have both from them.
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Old 03-11-2014, 07:42 PM   #7
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They are pretty loose with VHF radios in the Bahamas. Some use them on land almost like telephones. You can call a cab on VHF in Marsh Harbor.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:21 PM   #8
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There are several things at play here.

First is that most countries require visiting boats to have ships and operators licenses. US citizens operating in US waters for recreation are exempt, but as soon as you go somewhere else your host country will likely require you to have a license. If you have the appropriate FCC licenses (ship's station and operators) they are recognized by other countries, just as we recognize theirs. Will you get caught? Who knows, and the risk is yours to judge.

The second thing is the MMSI number. No matter where you get the number, your radio will broadcast it and it will get received. The issue has to do with the databases that contain your info, or not. The international database is maintained by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), and only MMSIs obtained from the FCC get entered into that database. The boatus MMSIs do not. Here's a link where you can look up your boat or someone elses Particulars of Ship stations

If you put out a mayday in some faraway place, the responding organization will look up the MMSI in the ITU database. From that they can tell whether they are looking for a white skiff, or a navy blue 80' trawler, along with contact info, etc. If you are not in the database, you won't get ignored, but you are also not giving them the most help that you can, and it's your ass that's in trouble, not theirs, so you should give them as much help as possible.

As has been mentioned, the hardest part about getting the licenses from the FCC is navigating their web site. When you apply for a ships station license, there is a check box where you say you also want an MMSI. They will take your money and give you both. It's painless once you find the link.

So if you think you will ever leave the country, go the FCC route.
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Old 03-11-2014, 11:01 PM   #9
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Agree with all above...

The FCC site is typical govt site; not very user friendly. However, I just ordered a new ship's license and MMSI and received it in the mail in four days! At least SOMETHING in the govt seems to work.........

That being said, I think the vessel must also be a USCG documented vessel to receive a ship's license, does it not? I don't think just a state's registration will suffice. I could be wrong...

Bren
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Old 03-12-2014, 07:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bren737 View Post
That being said, I think the vessel must also be a USCG documented vessel to receive a ship's license, does it not? I don't think just a state's registration will suffice. I could be wrong...

Bren
I don't think it matters. I'm pretty sure you can get a ships license for any boat. It used to be that one was required if you have a VHF, so I can't believe they are only available for Documented boats. That said, it's probably true that most boats that leave the country are documented, but certainly not all, and it's not required.
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Old 03-12-2014, 09:09 AM   #11
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FCC station licenses are NOT limited to documented vessels. I have had an FCC station license for almost 10 years on our Washington State titled and registered boat. We regularly cruise Canadian waters. Our boat is not documented with the Coast Guard.
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Old 03-12-2014, 01:36 PM   #12
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We've found it easy enough to get all that from FCC. Licenses, VHF callsign too, etc.

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Old 03-12-2014, 03:34 PM   #13
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The Bahamas are concerned with your customs and immigration fee, they need dollars from visitors to help support their country and any trip there is worth the fee. Last Wednesday I brought an 84' Horizon to Freeport, Grand Bahama and paid $300 for customs and $55.00 to immigration ( travel and overtime, snicker snicker.)
I have brought to the Bahamas U.S. documented vessels, both commercial and pleasure, foreign flagged vessels and Florida registered vessels. never have they asked about radio licenses. The customs fee is good for two visits within 6 months unless they have changed the rules.
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Old 03-12-2014, 03:50 PM   #14
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Interesting. In Canada we are required to have a radiotelephone licence to operate a VHF radio and once you have that (recommended: through your local Power Squadron) the Canadian website for the MMSI is dead simple. Fax in a simple 1 page form and bobzyeruncle.
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
Blue Heron you are correct....
Right from BoatUS website...as they provide "special MMSIs"....


BoatUS has been authorized by both the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the U.S. Coast Guard to assign MMSI numbers only to vessels that meet the following criteria:


  • Used for recreation only
  • Not required by law to carry a radio
  • Do not make international voyages or communications
MMSI Registration - Maritime Mobile Service Identity - BoatUS

It also goes on to say:

Do NOT Register with BoatUS MMSI if:
  • your vessel is required to carry a radio onboard (“Compulsory Equipped”)
  • you plan to visit or communicate in a foreign port including Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and the British Virgin Islands
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Old 03-12-2014, 04:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bren737 View Post
Agree with all above...

The FCC site is typical govt site; not very user friendly. However, I just ordered a new ship's license and MMSI and received it in the mail in four days! At least SOMETHING in the govt seems to work.........

That being said, I think the vessel must also be a USCG documented vessel to receive a ship's license, does it not? I don't think just a state's registration will suffice. I could be wrong...

Bren
Can you help the rest of us who are not computer savy, by stepping us through the process? Please
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:43 PM   #17
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If you can do a blog and register for Trawler Forum, you can certainly do this:

FCC: Wireless Services: Ship Radio Stations: Licensing

And it looks in your sig that you already have an MMSI...?
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Old 03-12-2014, 05:57 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by caltexflanc View Post
If you can do a blog and register for Trawler Forum, you can certainly do this:

FCC: Wireless Services: Ship Radio Stations: Licensing

And it looks in your sig that you already have an MMSI...?
Still trying. Need to spend some time on it. My MMSI is a BoatUs number and I want to spend time in Canada, so I will be required to get an MMSI from the FCC.
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Old 03-12-2014, 06:10 PM   #19
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Still trying. Need to spend some time on it. My MMSI is a BoatUs number and I want to spend time in Canada, so I will be required to get an MMSI from the FCC.
Let me tell you, if I can do it anyone can. Plus, they have phone help that will walk you through it if you need it.
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Old 07-17-2014, 07:57 PM   #20
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fcc regs

FCC: Wireless Services: Ship Radio Stations: Licensing
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