General Info:MMSI – Maritime Mobile Service Identity. This is a unique 9 digit number assigned to ships with certain kinds of radio equipment. Search and rescue authorities, including the Coast Gard, use the MMSI to learn background information about a vessel in distress (e.g., owner’s name, intended route and other radio equipment on board) and to determine whether the alert is false. An accurate MMSI database helps to protect lives and property at sea by reducing the time needed to locate vessels in distress.Vessel owners must obtain an MMSI from the appropriate source prior to using a DSC radio, AIS transponder or INMARSAT ship earth station. Self-assigning an MMSI is prohibited.
There are two types of MMSI numbers. Domestic/Recreational and International/Commercial (Requires a Ships Stations License) The Domestic/Recreational MMSI can be obtained by Boat US and does not require a Ship Station License from the FCC. Vessels that qualify for this type of MMSI are:Used for recreation onlyNot required by law to carry a radioDo not make international voyages or communicationsThere is a $25.00 Fee for this service, which is waived if you are and active BoatUS member.Follow this link and follow the directions to obtain a new MMSI:https://www.boatus.com/mmsi/
You need an International/Commercial MMSI if: Your vessel is required to carry a radio onboard (“Compulsory Equipped”) You plan to visit or communicate in a foreign port including Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, and the British Virgin IslandsIf either of the above conditions apply, you are legally required to obtain a Ship Station License from the FCC. They will issue an appropriate MMSI with the License.Follow this link to the FCC. You’ll need to complete the FCC Registration and file Form 605 for the Ships Station License and a form 159 to accompany your payment. Cost for this is $250.00 and is active for 10 years.