Digital Selective Calling

Ability to call the  "Phone number" (Maritime Mobile Services Identifier -- MMSI)  for specific HF and VHF Marine Radios

Some vessels  need to obtain a Ship Radio License to obtain a MMSI. Typically, these are subject to the Safety of Life At Sea (SOLAS) regulations, either of substantial size, passenger carrying, or both.  Vessels that routinely communicate with stations outside the US also need to have this license, but just crossing into international waters does not create a license requirement

File Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Form 159, (plus 159B if you want to pay online), Form 650 and Form 650B
Fee is $160 for a 10-year period

Recreational vessels can get an MMSI without a Ship Radio License, at no cost

Contact Boat Owners Association of the US or SeaTow

Small to medium commercial fishing vessels do not need a Ship Radio License, but there is no organization that has been delegated MMSI assignment authority by the Federal Communications Commission. 

Beachwerks is trying to find a solution for this problem. Please contact us for the most recent status.

What does a DSC installation involve?

What does linking GPS to my VHF radio offer to me?

In areas under USCG Rescue 21, your position will automatically attach to distress calls as soon as you press the button

There are other applications. For example, boats working together can, with a suitable chartplotter, display the location of a boat calling on VHF. This is useful, for example, if one boat finds a good fishing spot but doesn't want to broadcast its location in clear voice.

DSC complements two other safety initiatives. GMDSS goes into effect only in major emergencies, while AIS is more for collision avoidance. Some VMS shore monitoring stations give an additional capability if the station stops receiving an expected VMS signal.

Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) 

Automated Identification System

US Coast Guard recommendation on “why DSC”

DSC-equipped radios come in different classes

Vessels required to comply with SOLAS need the greatest capability

Even on non-SOLAS, the additional capabilities can be useful

Class A
Complete set of DSC functions.
Required on both VHF and MF for SOLAS.
Class A includes polling and vessel
tracking, data, and numerous other functions in addition to voice.
Class D Minimum DSC capability for VHF marine radios  on non-SOLAS vessels, including commercial fishing
Recommended for recreational boats that have VHF
Class E Minimum DSC capability for HF marine radio on non-SOLAS vessels, such as commercial fishing vessels.
Recommended for recreational boats that have HF

MMSI: the Phone Number