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Old 06-09-2021, 09:27 AM   #1
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Vessel FCC license and MMSI number

All,


There has been a lively discussion over on the AGLCA site about the above licensing for a boat in a foreign country... Canada or the Bahamas.


While if one goes on the FCC site or the CFR site (47CFR / 80.13) it say that a FCC ships license is required to communicate with foreign ports or vessels and while boating there. But that's US law, and could be argued not enforceable in a foreign county, unless there's some sort of treaty or agreement (which I can't find).


Now, one would have to comply with Canadian law, which only requires a restricted radio operators license, but not a ships license.


Now, with the MMSI number, if one does not have one issued by the FCC, it does not end up in a international data base, and not be available for search and rescue in a foreign country. And that's a risk that one can decide if they need or not.


Question: How can the FCC enforce US laws in a foreign country?
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:54 AM   #2
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I know nothing about how these things are or are not enforced. But this is not a law, it's a regulation. And since it's tied to a license, violations (even outside the US) could easily result in revocation. Again, no idea if that happens or not.

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Old 06-09-2021, 10:21 AM   #3
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Be careful, it could be in the CFRs, which are legally enforceable. Some international treaties have requirements in the CFRs.

I believe the USCG Navrules which are referenced in the CFRs and they are derived from the international COLREGS.
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:25 AM   #4
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From the USCG NAVCEN site.....

"MMSIs are regulated and managed internationally by the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva, Switzerland, just as radio call signs are regulated. The MMSI format and use is documented in Article 19 of the ITU Radio Regulations and ITU-R Recommendation M.585-6, available from the ITU."
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Old 06-09-2021, 10:48 AM   #5
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Going off older recollections from pre-2013, and for Canada.
At the time, we were required to obtain a "radio station" license if we expected to operate VHF equipment outside of Canada (Gov. regulation by Industry Canada). I know of at least one Canadian flagged pleasure boat that was operating in Washington State that experienced a problem due to no license when they were boarded by the USCG. At the time of inspection the Coasties confiscated all of their "unlicensed" VHF equipment. I cannot remember if they received a fine as well.
At the time, the "punishment" seemed crazy to me. Removing all of their emergency communication equipment just seemed wrong.
We had the station license for our boat, and it only cost about $30 per year, so not a large expense and not much of an effort to renew (they sent out notice). Obtaining an MMSI was easy, one time, and free.
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Old 06-09-2021, 12:21 PM   #6
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All,


There has been a lively discussion over on the AGLCA site about the above licensing for a boat in a foreign country... Canada or the Bahamas.


While if one goes on the FCC site or the CFR site (47CFR / 80.13) it say that a FCC ships license is required to communicate with foreign ports or vessels and while boating there. But that's US law, and could be argued not enforceable in a foreign county, unless there's some sort of treaty or agreement (which I can't find).


Now, one would have to comply with Canadian law, which only requires a restricted radio operators license, but not a ships license.


Now, with the MMSI number, if one does not have one issued by the FCC, it does not end up in a international data base, and not be available for search and rescue in a foreign country. And that's a risk that one can decide if they need or not.


Question: How can the FCC enforce US laws in a foreign country?
§80.1 Basis and purpose.
This section contains the statutory basis for this part of the rules and provides the purpose for which this part is issued.

(a) Basis. The rules for the maritime services in this part are promulgated under the provisions of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, which vests authority in the Federal Communications Commission to regulate radio transmission and to issue licenses for radio stations. The rules in this part are in accordance wtih applicable statutes, international treaties, agreements and recommendations to which the United States is a party. The most significant of these documents are listed below with the short title appearing in parenthesis:

Communications Act of 1934, as amended—(Communications Act).

Communications Satellite Act of 1962, as amended—(Communications Satellite Act).

International Telecommunication Union Radio Regulations, in force for the United States—(Radio Regulations).

Agreement Between the United States of America and Canada for the Promotion of Safety on the Great Lakes by Means of Radio, as amended, and the Technical Regulations annexed thereto—(Great Lakes Radio Agreement).

International Convention for Safety of Life at Sea, 1974, as amended, and the Annex thereto—(Safety Convention).

Vessel Bridge-to-Bridge Radiotelephone Act—(Bridge-to-Bridge Act).
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Old 06-09-2021, 01:26 PM   #7
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What is the problem with just doing it correctly? I did our current boat and it was simple and not expensive. Then who cares about enforcement, just show the paperwork and you are good. People spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get around the rules and in the end it was simple to follow the rules.
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Old 06-09-2021, 02:09 PM   #8
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What is the problem with just doing it correctly? I did our current boat and it was simple and not expensive. Then who cares about enforcement, just show the paperwork and you are good. People spend an inordinate amount of time trying to get around the rules and in the end it was simple to follow the rules.
Agree; you get an instant, printable license. I just did it. Yes, it costs some $. In theory, the USCG enforces such station licenses, although, I've never been asked to provide it. It should be posted in the boat.
Along with that, there is the operators permit, also necessary in this context, but free and also easy.
While on the subject, the Bahamas collects $ to allow foreign amateur operators to operate in Bahamas waters. And, its NOT cheap. Used to be 6$ per year, has exponentially increased. And, if you let it lapse, you will owe for the missing years.
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Old 06-09-2021, 02:19 PM   #9
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It's an interesting question. From an aircraft owner's perspective, it has always been clear that you need both a station license for the aircraft, as well as a restricted operator's license (actually called a Restricted Radiotelephone Operator Permit by the US FCC) for the pilot, for foreign operation. References always warned that not only could you be inspected for it entering (in my case) Canada and Mexico, but also upon return to the US from foreign soil.

I only was ever asked for it in Mexico. It was clear to me that the officials did not know the particulars of the what or why it was for, only that they were supposed to be asking to see it, and if I had only given them one or the other, they would have been satisfied. I always carried both.
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Old 06-09-2021, 03:51 PM   #10
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Let’s separate what you are supposed to do according the the various laws and regs, vs what you can get away with.

If this is about what you can get away with, well, shame on you.

The regs are clear. Unless you and your communications are confined to the US, you need the license. It’s not a big deal to just do it.

As for laws and enforcement, it’s my understanding that US flagged boats, as well as US citizens, are subject to US laws no matter where you are in the world. Enforcement is another subject, and only relevant if you plan to break the laws.
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Old 06-09-2021, 06:27 PM   #11
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Let’s separate what you are supposed to do according the the various laws and regs, vs what you can get away with.

If this is about what you can get away with, well, shame on you.

The regs are clear. Unless you and your communications are confined to the US, you need the license. It’s not a big deal to just do it.

As for laws and enforcement, it’s my understanding that US flagged boats, as well as US citizens, are subject to US laws no matter where you are in the world. Enforcement is another subject, and only relevant if you plan to break the laws.

This is about what the law IS. You can choose what you wish to get away with, but not the scope of this thread.
But, when you are NOT in the US, you are not bound by US law unless there some treaty or agreement that says otherwise. You are bound by the laws of the country you're in. I know that's a fact for aviation and for boating. However, one may be bound by more than what the local laws are, by agreements.
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Old 06-09-2021, 06:50 PM   #12
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This is about what the law IS. You can choose what you wish to get away with, but not the scope of this thread.
But, when you are NOT in the US, you are not bound by US law unless there some treaty or agreement that says otherwise. You are bound by the laws of the country you're in. I know that's a fact for aviation and for boating. However, one may be bound by more than what the local laws are, by agreements.
Not necessarily true.

Some things you are bound by by being a US citizen.

The USCG can enforce them on you on the high seas and in foreign waters with their permission.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:07 PM   #13
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Not necessarily true.

Some things you are bound by by being a US citizen.

The USCG can enforce them on you on the high seas and in foreign waters with their permission.

Examples?
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:15 PM   #14
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I am exhausted finding links to people with no clue.

I was a Sr USCG officer with years of experience enforcing US laws on the high seas all over the Western Hemisphere.

If you expect me to believe one aspect of professional aviation from you...and I was pretty good at aviation myself after 20 years of USCG aviation, you will just have to take my word on it.

Or.....

Look up basic USCG authority in the CFRs (title 46) and it gives you a clue what the USCG can enforce anywhere in the world on US citizens.

USCG site

"Vessel Boardings
The Coast Guard may board any vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, whether on the high seas, or on waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, to make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of U.S. laws. 14 U.S.C. § 89."
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:35 PM   #15
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I am exhausted finding links to people with no clue.

I was a Sr USCG officer with years of experience enforcing US laws on the high seas all over the Western Hemisphere.

If you expect me to believe one aspect of professional aviation from you...and I was pretty good at aviation myself after 20 years of USCG aviation, you will just have to take my word on it.

Or.....

Look up basic USCG authority in the CFRs (title 46) and it gives you a clue what the USCG can enforce anywhere in the world on US citizens.

USCG site

"Vessel Boardings
The Coast Guard may board any vessel subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, whether on the high seas, or on waters over which the United States has jurisdiction, to make inquiries, examinations, inspections, searches, seizures, and arrests for the prevention, detection, and suppression of violations of U.S. laws. 14 U.S.C. § 89."

Totally understand... so I looked thru the CFRs and didn't find anything that addressed regulations in foreign countries. I suspect there's some regulation when one is on the high seas, but not the scope of this thread.


I suspect there's some agreement with foreign countries, and that's what I'd like to find.


Just thought an expert like you would know this stuff.....
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:42 PM   #16
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Totally understand... so I looked thru the CFRs and didn't find anything that addressed regulations in foreign countries. I suspect there's some regulation when one is on the high seas, but not the scope of this thread.


I suspect there's some agreement with foreign countries, and that's what I'd like to find.


Just thought an expert like you would know this stuff.....
I do....I did....

See the thread that mentioned MMSI are controlled by an international organization.

If you fly international, you should already understand ICAO.
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:45 PM   #17
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But, when you are NOT in the US, you are not bound by US law unless there some treaty or agreement that says otherwise. You are bound by the laws of the country you're in. I know that's a fact for aviation and for boating. However, one may be bound by more than what the local laws are, by agreements.

It's my understanding that you are bond by BOTH. I should have made that clear. You are definitely NOT except from local laws when in another country. But perhaps an attorney here can comment?
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Old 06-09-2021, 07:49 PM   #18
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I suspect there's some agreement with foreign countries, and that's what I'd like to find.

I think in the context of this thread, the agreement among countries is the reciprocal recognition of licensing. So when you visit other nations, they will recognize and accept your FCC issued licenses. Sorry, but I can't cite specific laws.
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:11 PM   #19
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Ship stations may communicate with other ship stations or coast stations primarily for safety, and secondarily for navigation and operational efficiency. The FCC regulates marine communications in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard, which monitors marine distress frequencies continuously to protect life and property. All users of marine radio, whether voluntary or compulsory, are responsible for observing both FCC and Coast Guard requirements.

Seevee, see above. the FCC doesn't enforce the rule the USCG does. You've already stated that you know what the rule is, you just don't believe it can be enforced in another country. That very well may be true but I assume you would plan to come home sometime? I also assume you would need to check in with the coast guard? Maybe they want to see your license?? It's just not worth the fight over $200 for a 10 year license.

Go to the FAQ section on AGLCA, it's spelled out in very simple language.
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Old 06-09-2021, 09:36 PM   #20
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The USCG does go into the Bahamas to do LE missions.
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