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Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance > Electronics > MMSI into Icom IC-M504
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Thread: MMSI into Icom IC-M504 Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
12-19-2013 07:00 PM
btrayfors
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
12-19-2013 06:40 PM
TakeFive
Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
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?
12-19-2013 06:25 PM
SVAuspicious
Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
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*
12-19-2013 05:58 PM
btrayfors
Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Take Five,

Don't overthink this. It is what is is. Either follow the law or don't.

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.

Bill
12-19-2013 03:02 PM
TakeFive
Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
Originally Posted by windward54 View Post
Bill has it correct, and you would find language about this on the application form for the radio license...
It seems to me that the license application is a strange place to put a rule that applies exclusively to people who have no plans of licensing their radio.

Quote:
Originally Posted by windward54 View Post
...However, as always, in an emergency, all bets are off and it is ok...
Hmmm, I would think that if you're in an emergency, then maybe you waited too long to make contact. Shouldn't the goal be to avoid emergencies by prudently making contact?
12-19-2013 02:58 PM
TakeFive
Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
...So, strictly speaking, if you're off Cove Point in the Chesapeake and want to talk with a foreign-flagged LPG carrier via VHF you need to have the FCC-issued operators permit and station license...
Let me make sure I have this straight. In the US on a voluntary recreational vessel you're allowed to have a VHF radio without a license, and register a free MMSI number from BoatUS. But with this unlicensed radio, if you see a large tanker off in the distance, you need to somehow figure out what country it is flagged in before you're allowed to make radio contact.

Can you post a link to this regulation?
12-19-2013 02:55 PM
windward54
Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
Originally Posted by btrayfors View Post
There are two different issues here.

The first is the MMSI number differences between a Boat U.S.-issued one and one issued by the FCC. The first type is not entered into the ITU international database and thus is not available to, e.g., foreign search-and-rescue entities.
I know of no specific prohibition to a boat with a Boat U.S. - issued MMSI communicating by voice with a foreign vessel.

HOWEVER, there is a prohibition of communicating with foreign vessels or in other countries without having two things:

1. a commercial radiotelephone Operator's Permit; and
3. a Station Lcense for the boat.

Both of these (the Permit and the License) are issued by the FCC upon application. Along with their issuance, you automatically are assigned a MMSI number, and this number should be used in your VHF, HF, AIS, etc.

So, strictly speaking, if you're off Cove Point in the Chesapeake and want to talk with a foreign-flagged LPG carrier via VHF you need to have the FCC-issued operators permit and station license.

At least that's the way I understand things.

Bill
Bill has it correct, and you would find language about this on the application form for the radio license. However, as always, in an emergency, all bets are off and it is ok.

Having said this though, I know that US flagged boats frequently communicate with the commercial vessels, most of whom are foreign flagged, and with the occassional visitor migrating south. It hasn't been enforced.
12-19-2013 02:05 PM
btrayfors
Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

There are two different issues here.

The first is the MMSI number differences between a Boat U.S.-issued one and one issued by the FCC. The first type is not entered into the ITU international database and thus is not available to, e.g., foreign search-and-rescue entities.
I know of no specific prohibition to a boat with a Boat U.S. - issued MMSI communicating by voice with a foreign vessel.

HOWEVER, there is a prohibition of communicating with foreign vessels or in other countries without having two things:

1. a commercial radiotelephone Operator's Permit; and
3. a Station Lcense for the boat.

Both of these (the Permit and the License) are issued by the FCC upon application. Along with their issuance, you automatically are assigned a MMSI number, and this number should be used in your VHF, HF, AIS, etc.

So, strictly speaking, if you're off Cove Point in the Chesapeake and want to talk with a foreign-flagged LPG carrier via VHF you need to have the FCC-issued operators permit and station license.

At least that's the way I understand things.

Bill
12-19-2013 12:36 PM
TakeFive
Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

Quote:
Originally Posted by windward54 View Post
In the USA, Boat US took on the issuance of MMSI numbers for recreational boats. They did it as here in the USA, you don't have to have a radio license issued by the FCC to operate a VHF as long as you are staying in USA waters or you are not communicating with foreign flagged vessels. Hence the two numbering entities....
I know this is an old message, but hoping someone will have the answer.

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.
10-31-2013 07:35 PM
windward54
Re: MMSI into Icom IC-M504

In the USA, Boat US took on the issuance of MMSI numbers for recreational boats. They did it as here in the USA, you don't have to have a radio license issued by the FCC to operate a VHF as long as you are staying in USA waters or you are not communicating with foreign flagged vessels. Hence the two numbering entities.

When I switched MMSI numbers, I was able to change the MMSI number on the radio (second entry) and canceled my Boat US number on line. It's pretty easy to do.
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