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Old 05-28-2020, 01:33 PM   #1
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MMSI Transfer

Anyone have any insight to the process for transferring an FCC-issued MMSI to the new owner of a boat? Clearly I'd rather have the existing MMSI transferred to me rather than needing to have multiple devices programmed with a new MMSI.

All my experience with this process has been BoatUs-issued MMSIs.

From poking around I *think* what needs to happen is to submit an FCC Form 603 ("FCC Application for Assignments of Authorization or Transfers of Control: Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and Public Safety Homeland Security Bureau") but before starting down that path I'm hoping to hear from someone who actually knows the correct process.
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Old 05-28-2020, 01:42 PM   #2
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If we were to sell our vessel, I'd not transfer the MMSIs. Nor would I want someone else's. In this day and age of detail and data stealing I view the privacy of MMSI as a credit card , password or SS number.
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Old 05-28-2020, 02:11 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
If we were to sell our vessel, I'd not transfer the MMSIs. Nor would I want someone else's. In this day and age of detail and data stealing I view the privacy of MMSI as a credit card , password or SS number.
Can you be a bit more specific on what you see as the risk?
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Old 05-28-2020, 02:37 PM   #4
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I also recently purchased a boat. How do you tell if the vhf even has a mmsi? Unit has DSC.
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Old 05-28-2020, 02:40 PM   #5
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You can transfer it. Instructions here: https://www.fcc.gov/ship-radio-stations

You need to create an FRN account. The previous owner needs to submit form 603 releasing it. Then you apply for it. It's not intuitive on the website but they are responsive to email questions.

From the instructions:

Assigning or Transferring a Ship Station License

Subject to the FCC's advance approval, you may assign a Ship Station License (as when you are selling a vessel) or transfer control of a Ship Station License (as when there is a change in the ownership of the licensee or its parent company). To obtain the FCC's approval for the assignment or transfer of control, you must file FCC Form 603. There is no fee required. After the transaction is consummated, the assignee/transferee must file a notification of consummation using Schedule D of FCC Form 603. The notification of consummation must be filed within thirty (30) days of the actual consummation. (It must also be filed within six months after the FCC gives public notice of its consent to the application.)


We went through this process for the radios (VHF/SSB/EPIRB and AIS). Took a couple of weeks if I remember correctly.

Also, pretty sure the USBoat license is US only and the FCC license is international.
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Old 05-28-2020, 02:50 PM   #6
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Why bother? This might be controversial but the MMSI is not all that useful. You can change the registration of an EPIRB simply by going online. You can update the AIS boat name using a USB cable and a freely available program. Nobody seems to rely on the MMSI in a VHF. Heck, last year my VHF started blaring an DSC alarm and I had to turn it off because it was non-intuitive how to quit the alarm, nor was any meaningful information displayed. Also, it is my understanding that first responders do not rely on data in the MMSI data base.
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Old 05-28-2020, 03:59 PM   #7
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You can transfer it. Instructions here: https://www.fcc.gov/ship-radio-stations

You need to create an FRN account. The previous owner needs to submit form 603 releasing it. Then you apply for it. It's not intuitive on the website but they are responsive to email questions.
Thanks very much!
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Old 05-28-2020, 10:43 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sunchaser View Post
If we were to sell our vessel, I'd not transfer the MMSIs. Nor would I want someone else's. In this day and age of detail and data stealing I view the privacy of MMSI as a credit card , password or SS number.
To remain legal when you sell your vessel:

Quote:
How to Update or Change an MMSI Registration

If your MMSI registration information or contact information changes for any reason, you must update your registration. If you sell your DSC-equipped radio or AIS or the boat these devices are mounted on, you must cancel your MMSI registration and should inform the new owner of the need to reregister the MMSI. This is necessary to ensure that the Coast Guard is able to contact the right persons if a distress situation were ever to occur.
From USCG Maritime Mobile Service Indentity
(Bolding is mine)
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Old 05-29-2020, 06:51 AM   #9
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I tried to transfer mine many years ago and was never successful.
Not going to bother any more.
Hopefully the "system" is better now.
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Old 05-29-2020, 07:46 AM   #10
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To remain legal when you sell your vessel:

From USCG Maritime Mobile Service Indentity
(Bolding is mine)
The confusion is in the wording. The OP queried as to transfer whereas the proper way, as you note, is to cancel and re-register MMSI devices.

Personally I'd cancel and throw away any Class B AIS units or EPIRBs on a used boat if I were to buy a vessel so equipped. New ones are cheap and the registering process simple.

Last year we had a new battery installed in our EPIRB, ouch for $$. A new DSC VHF is so much better than its older cousins. We wax eloquent on TF about buying new gizmos, MMSI devices are indeed those types of gizmos.
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Old 05-29-2020, 08:52 AM   #11
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As I learn more I think it was a mistake for me to phrase this question in terms of the MMSI. What I'm really looking at is assigning/transferring the Ship License of which the MMSI is one component.

Airstream quotes what I think is the language enabling this action.

I'm contacting the FCC to confirm process for doing this.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:39 AM   #12
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From talking to the FCC desk handling these issues:

If the sale of the vessel has not taken place, the license can be assigned or transferred (the difference between those two things is mired in legalities).

If the sale of the vessel has already taken place (my case), the proper procedure is for the PO to cancel the license, and then I can apply for a new license specifying the existing MMSI I want to include in the license.

So, no reason to have the existing radios reprogrammed.
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Old 05-29-2020, 10:47 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderer View Post
From talking to the FCC desk handling these issues:

If the sale of the vessel has not taken place, the license can be assigned or transferred (the difference between those two things is mired in legalities).

If the sale of the vessel has already taken place (my case), the proper procedure is for the PO to cancel the license, and then I can apply for a new license specifying the existing MMSI I want to include in the license.

So, no reason to have the existing radios reprogrammed.

Very helpful information! Thank you!
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Old 05-29-2020, 11:33 AM   #14
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Why bother? This might be controversial but the MMSI is not all that useful. ... You can update the AIS boat name using a USB cable and a freely available program. Nobody seems to rely on the MMSI in a VHF.
I am curious how you are able to buy a (transmitting) AIS in the first place without having an MMSI, which the seller then programs in before you can buy it. I was shopping for an AIS earlier this winter and every place I looked at to possibly buy it (Fisheries, Defender, Milltech Marine, others) required that you have an MMSI and give it to them so they could program the unit before sending it to you.

Do you find them used and then do your thing with a USB cable?
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Old 06-01-2020, 07:29 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danderer View Post
From talking to the FCC desk handling these issues:

If the sale of the vessel has not taken place, the license can be assigned or transferred (the difference between those two things is mired in legalities).

If the sale of the vessel has already taken place (my case), the proper procedure is for the PO to cancel the license, and then I can apply for a new license specifying the existing MMSI I want to include in the license.

So, no reason to have the existing radios reprogrammed.
This is the process we used. Seller cancelled, we applied with the same number, new vessel name. Easy.
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