VHF radio MMSI registration

2 years 7 months ago #31100 by WingSuit
Bought an MMSI VHF a year ago, had to join BOAT US to get it registered. Now BOAT US is telling me I have to maintain an annual membership to keep my MMSI registration. Does anyone know the story on this, do I have to pay as if I own a powerboat to simply have an MMSI registration? Or could I have registered it without BOAT US?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31101 by WingSuit
Let me frame this a different way, surely someone who paddles coastal waters would know this. Do I have to pay $30 a year to BOAT US in order to maintain my registration to a DSC VHF marine radio? When I purchased the radio and set it up I wasn’t too thrilled as a paddler to join a boating club in order to register the MMSI to me, and I am really disappointed that the club wants $30 every year to maintain my registration. If I don’t have it registered to me, and I hit the “rescue button”, will the Coast Guard still try to find me?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31102 by tve
Replied by tve on topic VHF radio MMSI registration
I used the US Power Squadron MMSI registration, which was free, so I don't know the details of the Boat US version. My impression was that they charged a 1-time fee. In any case, the CG will come, they may not know what they're looking for if Boat US removes the database entry. I'm not entirely sure how these things work...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31104 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic VHF radio MMSI registration
I doubt you have to be a BoatUS member to maintain your MMSI number. They act as an agent to register your MMSI info. with the FCC and Coast Guard. Think that would be REAL bad for customer relations and probably illegal. I see on BoatUS website they charge a $25.00 fee. I think they used to do it for free or if a BoatUS member. For me, they require me to be a member to have vessel towing insurance through them. Seems to be a bit of extortion here, eh. As Thorsten indicated registration is free through the US Power Squadron.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31105 by WingSuit
The instructions with the Icom radio steered me to BOATUS as the only way to do it. When they recently sent me a renewal email, I asked BOATUS if I had to maintain a membership solely to keep my MMSI. The BOATUS reply was yes, you do, send $30 please. So I called USCG today and they said they would respond to a DSC distress signal, registered or not. If that day ever comes, hopefully I can communicate with the radio and tell them what boat I am in. The whole registration thing seemed not a fit for a paddler anyway, if you paddle more than one boat/board. Thanks for the help!

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago - 2 years 7 months ago #31106 by downwinda
I wouldn't bother paying anybody anything. Just take your VHF with you and if you get in trouble go to channel 16 and say "Mayday", or " Pan Pan" if the trouble is not to the point that you need help right away.

I've had to use Pan Pan once when a paddler that was ahead of me when I started a downwind paddle was not at the destination when I finished, but his car was still there. I hadn't spoken to him, but seeing his car there concerned me since I saw him take off and leave before me. I used channel 16 to contact the US Coast Guard, stated Pan Pan and they came on right away. They then got my cell phone number and contacted me on that, where I told them the entire situation, and that I wasn't sure if he was in trouble or not, but that I was playing it better safe than sorry. He ended up showing up a couple minutes later, having stopped off at a friend's boat in the harbor we finish in!

ps, I have never paid to register my VHF, and they still responded. No admonishment at all about not being registered.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31107 by tve
Replied by tve on topic VHF radio MMSI registration
As far as I can tell, the tl;dr; here is that if you make a DSC emergency call the CG will come and help if they hear it.

If your radio can be reprogrammed with a different MMSI number, I would recommend that you get a new one at the US power squadrons for free. The HX870 can be reprogrammed, for example. Many radios have to go back to the factory, some allow for one reprogramming.

The main concern in your situation is that your MMSI number may be recycled if you don't keep your membership active. I see this mentioned at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3AMaritime_Mobile_Service_Identity (dunno how authoritative this info is). The CG says that their protocol is to look up the info in the record and try to make contact with the person to weed out false alerts. So what can happen to you is that they call the phone number on record, the new owner of the MMSI says "I'm sitting in my boat in a harbor 500 miles away from the distress call" and the CG either writes your call off as a false alert or their response gets delayed or deprioritized.

To me the big benefit of the DSC call is that it's fast and includes GPS info. The TX takes a bit less than a second, so can happen on top of a wave or while holding the radio as high up as possible, while neither are the case with voice on ch16. I tend to have my radio on ch16 when I go out just to find out what I hear and what I don't. Conveniently the CG often has announcements about military exercises in the area and when either my body or a wave is between the radio and the CG transmitter the voice cuts out. In the reverse direction it must be worse given that my handheld's TX power is much lower. I'm curious about what the reception would be like if I speak out my GPS coords...

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31108 by WingSuit
Good point, I have asked BOATUS if they reassign the number to another radio, if that’s even possible. Question though, while I await the response, Power Squadron membership is way more than BOATUS, like over $100. Any tips on that free registration?

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31109 by WingSuit
Found out how to get MMSI through Power Squadrons, for free. Got one. My ICOM model IC M93D cannot be reset by the consumer. As soon as I find someone to reset the MMSI I will cooking with gas, as they say. Thanks for all the help.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31110 by tve
Replied by tve on topic VHF radio MMSI registration
IIRC I started at www.usps.org/php/mmsi_new/rules.php , did the "create member account" and then "request new MMSI". I didn't pay anything.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31111 by WingSuit
Trying to avoid boring everyone to tears, but in case others may find this useful, got the new MMSI. Only ICOM itself can delete old number from the radio. So it’s off to the service center in Kirkland, WA. Fortunately that’s a drop off for me. Luckily, while messing with all this, I noticed that the tab that holds the battery in was broken. Warranty repair. Now my battery won’t fall out when I try to activate the DSC. Seemed like a lot of work to get to the end of this.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31112 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic VHF radio MMSI registration
WingSuit, you said only the radio manufacturer can delete registered MMSI no. That would indicate (to me anyway) that BOATUS cannot reassign your no. and is blowing smoke up your wazoo.
Downwinda, Interesting perspective. You made a call to the CG while standing in a parking lot and then switched to cell phone. Good luck with that transmission while treading in 50 degree water in rough conditions, miles from shore and fearing for your life. I can tell you from experience. A VHF radio speaker when wet can be unintelligible and I sure as hell can't read the lat and long coordinates without reading glasses in the best of conditions.
A DSC emergency digital transmission immediately notifies the USCG that you are in trouble along with your exact location.
DSC VHF radios have another interesting feature, an automatic strobe light that activates when your radio gets wet. So if you get wet and the light activates it puts additional load on the battery.
Best to deactivate IMO.
The idea behind registering your DSC radio is to provide contact info to the CG that they can use to contact you and/or someone you designate to determine if your DSC distress signal was intentionally or accidentally engaged. Potential to save taxpayers $10,000's or more on erroneous transmissions.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31113 by WingSuit
The owners manual to my radio clearly states that the MMSI can only be programmed into the radio one time by the consumer. A call to ICOM confirms that once the MMSI is entered into the radio, only ICOM can delete it. And you can’t enter another MMSI into the radio until the old one is cleared. This is completely different than BOATUS or anyone else maintaining your MMSI registration, which is basically info about yourself. If you know the procedure that ICOM uses I am all ears. Don’t smell any smoke ... ;-)

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31118 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic VHF radio MMSI registration
Sorry Wingsuit, I was referring to BOATUS not ICOM blowing smoke.
If you end your membership with BOATUS, it makes sense you would no longer be able to log in and manage your MMSI information.
I just have a hard time believing they can delete your info with FCC.
Maybe I'm wrong. Even if BOATUS did delete your info from the FCC, they cannot reassign or delete your MMSI number. As you said, only ICOM can do that. The MMSI number is programmed into radio.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31119 by WingSuit
I think I would rather go to the trouble of having my MMSI active and match up with my profile, and the type of boat. If I activated the DSC for rescue, I want the Coast Guard to know look for a surfski or me in the water, much smaller and easily missed compared to a power boat. Plus my emergency contacts would be available to them. In case anyone needs to know, ICOM charges $46.50 to delete the old MMSI and program in a new one (that you Provide). Shipping the radio back to you is included in the price.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31121 by WingSuit
Another piece of info about all this that looks definitive: BOATUS has sent me an email telling me that when I first registered my radio, the $25 fee was to obtain an MMSI, and that a complementary BOATUS annual membership was included. They now say that I was previously misinformed by BOATUS when I was told that I had to maintain an annual membership in order to maintain my MMSI. They promise that it will never be reassigned, and will remain in effect even if I don’t renew my BOATUS membership.

All this hand wringing was because of their initial assertion. So that’s that, let’s hear about actual paddling.
The following user(s) said Thank You: Fath2o

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31122 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic VHF radio MMSI registration
Guess i'm not a dumb shit after all. Thanks.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31124 by WingSuit
I keep reminding myself that had I not done all this unnecessary work, I wouldn’t have realized my battery latch was broke before my battery came off and sank to the bottom.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

2 years 7 months ago #31128 by Fath2o
Replied by Fath2o on topic VHF radio MMSI registration
Glad you found solutions to your problems. Hopefully information that has been provided here is useful to others. BTW I have three DSC registered radios and had another on old boat. I recently had frustration with old handheld that quit working. Spent $30.00 on new battery that didn't solve problem. Through whole lot away.
Good luck.

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

1 year 1 month ago #35034 by Mjschultz
I know this post is a bit old but I found this while doing some searching. I have a icom M93 D DSC radio. I'm going through the same trouble it has a MMSI number that I need to reset - were you able to get yours reset and if so how did you accomplish this? Thanks in advance. 

Please Log in or Create an account to join the conversation.

Latest Forum Topics

Video thread (456 Posts)

18 minutes ago
zachhandler's Avatar

Problems with Speedstroke Gym Erg (3 Posts)

5 hours 27 minutes ago
zachhandler's Avatar

Talk to me about cadence (3 Posts)

5 hours 45 minutes ago
Protected by R Antispam