Ask SAIL: MMSI Number Transfer

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Be sure your MMSI is correct

Be sure your MMSI is correct


Q: I just purchased a slightly used Jeanneau with a relatively new Automatic Identification System (AIS) transponder. The previous owner had an FCC radio station license with that MMSI number programmed into the transponder and the two marine VHFs, as well as on the boat’s ICOM M-802 single-sideband radio. How do I transfer this MMSI and SSB license over to me?

Don Hall, Miami, FL



Sorry, no “transfer.” The previous owner must cancel his FCC license on the vessel you just bought. You will then need to obtain a new 10-year FCC Ship Station license, which will include a new MMSI number. (You can review the process at If you have not done so already, you will also need to acquire a federal registration number through the same website. It sounds complicated, but taking your time and reading each screen makes it fairly simple. Once you’ve obtained the necessary MMSI number you will need to contact your local NMEA marine electronics dealer and ask him to bring his laptop down to the boat with each manufacturer’s MMSI deletion and new-number-loading software. Some marine VHF radios may allow a user to overwrite an old number, but it is best to have an NMEA-certified tech to change over all your equipment in one visit.

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