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Thread: Estimate of time required to get MMSI Number from FCC?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Default Estimate of time required to get MMSI Number from FCC?

    Hi folks,

    I'd like to get an MMSI number so I can use DSC on my VHF radio. It looks like there are 2 sources for recreational boats - BoatUS if one doesn't intend to leave US waters; and FCC if one will be in international waters. Of course BoatUS is quick and simple, but I want to venture north to Canadian waters some day so I'd like to go the FCC route; but I'm having a hard time figuring out how long that will take and I will need the radio to be functional by June.

    So, does anyone have experience/estimate of how it takes to get an MMSI from FCC?

    Thanks in advance....
    Scott

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Southern Maine
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    Default Re: Estimate of time required to get MMSI Number from FCC?

    I got the one through the FCC a few years ago. I don't remember it taking very long...maybe a couple weeks? It was more expensive though.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Estimate of time required to get MMSI Number from FCC?

    Do you have a cite for the requirement for an FCC-issued MMSI for Canada? AFAIK --and I may be misinformed--all MMSI are managed by an international committee in Switzerland, regardless of where one sources the MMSI.

    At any rate, I'd be interested in the source of your query if you would not mind pointing me to it. GOOGLE, the FCC website and the USCG website are proving unhelpful.

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Estimate of time required to get MMSI Number from FCC?

    Quote Originally Posted by Breakaway View Post
    Do you have a cite for the requirement for an FCC-issued MMSI for Canada? AFAIK --and I may be misinformed--all MMSI are managed by an international committee in Switzerland, regardless of where one sources the MMSI.

    At any rate, I'd be interested in the source of your query if you would not mind pointing me to it. GOOGLE, the FCC website and the USCG website are proving unhelpful.

    Kevin
    You can, indeed, go to Canada with a non-FCC MMSI programmed into your VHF. If you happen to push the distress button, however, you will find that your vessel is not in the Canadian Coast Guard database. They'll still see a vessel in distress, will see your GPS coordinates, but it may take some time for them to figure out who you are. To be clear, however, it's perfectly legal to go this route IF AND ONLY IF your vessel is not required by law to have the FCC radio license.

    The FCC-issued number is the only one that is shared with international government authorities.

    Boaters who travel to Canada should also be aware that an FCC-issued radio license is required, both a station license for the vessel and an operator license for the captain. If you're getting all that, it's no extra trouble to have them issue an MMSI number. Of course, many boaters ignore this requirement.

    Here's a bit of documentation: https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtmmsi
    https://www.nmea.org/content/technicalnot/fccmmsi.asp

    Unless the government shuts down again, you'll have your number long before your trip. I seem to recall it taking a couple of weeks at most.
    Last edited by Sabre; 03-07-2019 at 12:39 AM.
    --​Anson, M/V Kingfisher

    Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. ~The Dalai Lama

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Estimate of time required to get MMSI Number from FCC?

    ^Thank you.

    Turns out BoatUS spells it our clearly in plain language:

    BoatUS MMSI numbers are for US registered or documented, recreational vessels under 65’ that are not visiting or communicating with foreign ports. The registration data provided to BoatUS is only transferred into the U.S. Coast Guard Search & Rescue Database (MISLE). International search & rescue agencies do not have access to the registration data provided to BoatUS.

    Registration data for FCC-assigned MMSI numbers go into the International Telecom Union (ITU) database that is accessible to international search & rescue agencies. In order to be accepted into the ITU database, any FCC assigned MMSI must end in zero. This is why the BoatUS MMSI number cannot be re-used when later applying for an FCC MMSI number for international cruising.


    https://www.boatus.com/MMSI/MMSI/FAQ

    Kevin
    There are two kinds of boaters: those who have run aground, and those who lie about it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    169

    Default Re: Estimate of time required to get MMSI Number from FCC?

    Thanks everyone, this is very helpful! FCC it is......

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rockford, IL
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    Default Re: Estimate of time required to get MMSI Number from FCC?

    Thanks for the clarification, Sabre. I want to comply but was unsure whether I needed an Operator's license as well as a boat (station) license. I will get both.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sabre View Post
    You can, indeed, go to Canada with a non-FCC MMSI programmed into your VHF. If you happen to push the distress button, however, you will find that your vessel is not in the Canadian Coast Guard database. They'll still see a vessel in distress, will see your GPS coordinates, but it may take some time for them to figure out who you are. To be clear, however, it's perfectly legal to go this route IF AND ONLY IF your vessel is not required by law to have the FCC radio license.

    The FCC-issued number is the only one that is shared with international government authorities.

    Boaters who travel to Canada should also be aware that an FCC-issued radio license is required, both a station license for the vessel and an operator license for the captain. If you're getting all that, it's no extra trouble to have them issue an MMSI number. Of course, many boaters ignore this requirement.

    Here's a bit of documentation: https://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=mtmmsi
    https://www.nmea.org/content/technicalnot/fccmmsi.asp

    Unless the government shuts down again, you'll have your number long before your trip. I seem to recall it taking a couple of weeks at most.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Posts
    169

    Default Re: Estimate of time required to get MMSI Number from FCC?

    Wow! I went the FCC route online application and got my MMSI in less than 24 hours. It cost $220. Not sure what the BoatUs route costs.

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