Ask Sail: MMSI Numbers
Perry Close Boston, Massachusetts asks:
I just purchased an ocean-going sailboat at a foreclosure sale and will soon install an SSB radio and an AIS transponder. The existing VHF radio is tied into the GPS receiver, and there is an existing maritime mobile ship identity (MMSI) number that comes up on the VHF display when I turn it on. The paperwork on the boat shows that the MMSI number came from one of the towing agencies. May I use this same number for the new SSB and AIS equipment I want to install?
Gordon West Replies
You may need an NMEA-certified technician to reset the MMSI number circuit on your VHF radio. Ask the tech to input your new FCC MMSI number into both the VHF and SSB radios. The AIS transponder will come pre-programmed with your new number, after you receive your ship station license. You can study the licensing process at wireless.fcc.gov. You will also need a Restricted Operator permit, unless you previously held one, if you are leaving the country with your radios.
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