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Old 10-19-2016, 10:39 AM   #1
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MMSI from a Previous Owner?

I'm trying to find out if there's a way to retrieve an MMSI number from a previous owner? He does not talk to me, so I don't know if he's already registered for an MMSI for the VHF and SSB radios already aboard (I'm replacing the VHFs and plan to keep the SSB; also buying an AIS).

I'm concerned that if I apply for a new number for the vessel, it will make my SSB permanently inoperable -- or at least unlicensed. (My understanding is that the MMSI number is permanently associated with a device.) I've looked for the PO's public info on the FCC site, but his name is a very common one and there is no way to know if any of the ones listed are the guy I'm looking for.

Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-19-2016, 11:08 AM   #2
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Is there an epirb on board? It's easy to check MMSI number and registration off of that. If the PO had an MMSI number and won't transfer it, you just register for a new number. I don't think you will have a problem as far as any licensing for the SSB. Radios with distress buttons need to go back to an authorized service center to have the new number programmed into the unit.

Ted
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Old 10-19-2016, 12:10 PM   #3
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You can search by name of the boat. Did the PO use the same name? If not, do you remember the previous name?

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Old 10-19-2016, 12:58 PM   #4
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Excellent, guys!

Ted, no EPIRB but good to know the SSB can be reconfigured if that's necessary.

Donsan, thanks for the link. I do have the immediately previous name and a search shows that it was apparently not registered.

Thanks again.
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Old 10-21-2016, 06:40 PM   #5
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I thought the rule was you can enter MMSI's two times in case of the need to change the number. After that it locks in and would have to be reset by factory authorized service. This is the case for Standard Horizon.
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Old 10-21-2016, 07:43 PM   #6
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EPIRBs must also be sent to the manufacturer to be issued a new number. So I have been told by the local RCM SAR guys, who often know these things.
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Old 10-21-2016, 08:04 PM   #7
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If he used the Boat US program to get his MMSI and he will not respond to you, they will reach out to him to have it released to you. I also believe that if he does not respond they have a process to reassign it anyway. Check their website.
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Old 10-21-2016, 08:28 PM   #8
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If it was a BoatUS number...go straight to the FCC and they will give you a real number that is acceptable internationally ( a bigger PIA and money...but not too bad and worth it)....the BoatUS and Sea Tow numbers are only to get started quick and cheap for US waters only.


You should be able to bring up the old MMSI number in a radio...and be abe to check with the FCC to see what kind of number it is.
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Old 10-21-2016, 10:31 PM   #9
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Thanks, all. I did decide to go through the FCC since we'll be taking the boat into other countries. There was no record of a ship's license or MMSI being issued in the PO's name, according to the FCC site.
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Old 10-22-2016, 07:47 AM   #10
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Is your boat USCG documented? If so, you could try tracking down numbers via the vessel number. That's the definite boat identification for a documented boat.
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Old 10-22-2016, 10:01 AM   #11
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Red Head's previous owner released the MMSI upon purchase. It was trivial and fast to re-register it to me. It might be worth a try to communicate with the previous owner. Make it simple for them to release the MMSI and it'll save a lot of headaches.
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Old 10-22-2016, 04:01 PM   #12
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For what it's worth, I've had the opposite problem with two boat that I have sold. Both were equipped with AIS and the MMSI number programmed into the VHF(s). As I think everyone knows, the MMSI is supposed to stay with the boat, not follow the owner, so in both cases I closed my registration on BoatUS/FCC and made the info available to the new owner so they could get their info entered for the MMSI.

Neither owner did anything, and both boats, since renamed, and still broadcasting their original boat name. All they need to do is program the new boat name, which is not restricted like the changing the MMSI, and fill out the BoatUS or FCC forms to get their contact info in the appropriate data base. So I applaud your effort to get the boat properly re-registered.
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Old 10-22-2016, 04:13 PM   #13
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"You cannot transfer your SHIP STATION LICENSE to another person or ship. The new owner cannot modify your license, but must apply for a NEW license."

From FCC: Wireless Services: Ship Radio Stations: Licensing Expiration

Not sure how that affects MMSI....

FAQ - BoatUS MMSI Application

Q: I have purchased a boat & radio with an MMSI number programmed into it. Can the MMSI number be transferred over to me?

If the MMSI number was assigned by BoatUS and the previous owner has closed the account, we can re-register the MMSI number for the new owner. If the previous owner has not closed the account, we will attempt to contact them to verify that they are not still using the number in another radio. If the previous owner cannot be contacted or is still improperly using the MMSI you will need to reprogram the radio with a new number. To check if your MMSI was assigned through BoatUS, Call 1-800-563-1536 and make sure to provide the MMSI number in all correspondence!
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Old 10-22-2016, 07:48 PM   #14
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Yes, agreed. One of the MMSIs that I had was acquired via BoatUS, and on that one I closed out the account which was supposed to allow the new owner to enter their info for the MMSI. It was quite a few years ago, so I don't recall the exact process, but I remember it being pretty clear how to do it.

The other one was an FCC MMSI linked to my SA license. As you point out, the SA license is NOT transferable, and the correct thing to do is cancel the SA license when you sell a boat, which I did. As I understand it, the next owner can then pickup the MMSI when they apply for an SA license. In the app process they ask you if you already have an MMSI that you want to use.

So the process is different depending on where you got the MMSI, but I believe the transfer can be carried out in both cases, should the new owner actually follow through and do it.

The alternative of course is to just get a new MMSI, but then you have to go through the hassle of sending VHFs and AIS devices back to the mfgs to get reprogrammed with the new MMSI.

So you can keep the MMSI and change the registration info to match (I believe the correct way to do it), or ignore all the old registration info and MMSI and start from scratch with new including reprogramming all the equipment. Take your pick.
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Old 10-22-2016, 07:53 PM   #15
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I am guessing the trick is to have the PO release it.
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Old 10-22-2016, 08:13 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psneeld View Post
I am guessing the trick is to have the PO release it.
Yes, that's at least half the problem. But you also need a buyer who then follows through on assumes the MMSI and makes the appropriate changes on their boat so the AIS isn't forever broadcasting the boat's old name.

The OP wants to assume the MMSI, but doesn't have a willing and cooperative seller/donor. When I sold my boats, I was a willing donor, but had unresponsive buyers. It takes both parties to make it happen.
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Old 10-22-2016, 09:04 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeffrey S View Post
It might be worth a try to communicate with the previous owner. Make it simple for them to release the MMSI and it'll save a lot of headaches.
Good thought, Jeff. Unfortunately, I'm dead to the PO.

When I checked the FCC database, there was no record of a ship's license or MMSI issued to the PO, so I registered for my own SA license and MMSI. It was very quick; I received them in two days.

I'm replacing the ancient VHFs and there's no AIS onboard Stella yet (just ordered a Vesper XB-8000 using the AC discount--thank you, Jeff) so the only device on the boat I was concerned about was the SSB . . . and I don't think it's programmed with a MMSI.

So I think I'm in good shape and, once again, grateful for all the help.
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Old 10-22-2016, 09:10 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
Is your boat USCG documented? If so, you could try tracking down numbers via the vessel number. That's the definite boat identification for a documented boat.
Another good idea. Yes, I had it documented last year. So nothing the PO did would be associated with the new number, if I understand the process correctly.
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