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post #11 of 13 Old 12-19-2013
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

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Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
I'm aware that the BoatUS number can only be used for radios that will stay within US waters. However, I have never seen any indication that radios with the BoatUS (domestic US) MMSI cannot communicate with foreign flagged vessels. Could you please link a source for that information?

In the Delaware River and Chesapeake Bay we get foreign flagged vessels all the time. Inability to communicate with them is a pretty serious safety deficiency.
You are mixing apples and oranges a bit. There are two separate issues.

The Boat/US, US Power Squadron and other free MMSI registrars in the United States issue MMSI numbers that are accessible to the USCG in the event of a distress call. For most US coastal boaters that is fine. There are some exceptions - heading offshore from Newport RI to Cape May NJ for example you may find a distress call picked up by the Bermuda RCC who won't know who you are.

That is entirely separate from VHF licensing. In the US, unlike most other countries, you have a legislated waiver for explicit license to transmit on your radio within the bounds of the continental US AND for communication with only other US vessels.

Strictly speaking that means if you are heading down the Delaware Bay and talk to a Liberian flagged tanker without a ship's station license and at least one person aboard with a restricted radio operators permit (or better) you are operating illegally.

1. That has nothing to do with your Boat/US MMSI.
2. The chances of getting caught approach zero.

I can elaborate if need be, but there is no need to put people to sleep. *grin*

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post #12 of 13 Old 12-19-2013
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

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Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
...BTW, in my judgment -- over 50 years of sailing on the Chesapeake, 100-ton license, etc., etc. -- there is absolutely no reason to call a tanker, anyway.

Stay the hell out of their way. You can see them even if they can't see you. And, you have plenty of time to make necessary course changes to stay clear...
I am very good at staying out of their way. But sometimes (not often) I need the radio to do that. It's not as simple as you think it is where I sail.

Delaware River, tanker coming up the river and slowing down, appears to be reaching his destination, industrial bulkheads on both sides of the narrow river, and an anchorage in the middle of the river. I'm going down the middle of the river in the anchorage area (since that's the only option outside the channel) and need to know which side of the river to proceed on so I can stay out of his way. Stopping and waiting is not an option because I'm in the anchorage area, which might be his destination. Turning around and going the other way is not an option because even after slowing down he's going faster than me.

This does not happen every day, but it has happened to me twice.

I need to hail him to query his intentions so I can steer clear. Surely you don't suggest that I wait for an emergency, and then hail him?


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)

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post #13 of 13 Old 12-19-2013
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Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

No, I'm not suggesting you wait for an emergency. Nor am I suggesting that you waste time trying to contact the ship via VHF radio. Rather, that you exercise prudent seamanship.

On the Delaware River and Delaware Bay, e.g., the easiest way to stay clear of big ships is to navigate outside the channel where they can't go. This is a very feasible strategy I've used many times.

If it turns out that for some reason you must be in deep water, then watch the approaching ship carefully. If his relative bearing doesn't change, then you are on a collision course. CHANGE YOUR COURSE to stay clear. Don't worry about trying to call him or signal him. Just get out of his way.

You don't have to travel very far to do that. Even VLCCs, the largest oil carriers afloat, have beams of only 200 feet. That means that you could avoid collision by moving a couple hundred feet to one side of his course. How long does it take to do that, even in a slow-moving sailboat? Not very long. Even if you're only moving at a speed of one knot, you can move 200 feet in just one minute.

But, you shouldn't be anywhere near that close anyway. And, you won't be if you pay attention to what's around you, using the best navigational tool of all: the Mark One eyeball. Keep your head out of the computer, the iPhone, iPad, AIS display, etc. Look around you. Any collision potential from a large ship will be immediately visible.

In fog, use radar as well as your eyes and ears and, if you have it, AIS. I've transited the Delaware from the C&D Canal to Cape May several times in very thick fog. No problem, and no danger of collision. Just stay out of the channel when you can (most of the time), and keep your eyes and ears and radar peeled.

Bill
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