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Do I need an international MMSI for my VHF to use it in Bahamas?

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  • Do I need an international MMSI for my VHF to use it in Bahamas?

    I just got a brand new handheld VHF, and it has a distress button feature. For that to work, it requires an MMSI number to be input. I contacted the administration that issues them, and they said that to get an international MMSI, it would cost around $300. As I would only ever go to Bimini, or maybe further into the Bahamas, do I need to get an international MMSI? I plan to also have an EPIRB with me during such a trip, but again, would the Bahamians monitor an EPIRB frequency issued in the US?

  • #2


    • #3
      You should be fine with just a US one. Honestly on a Bimini run it’s going to be answered by the Coast Gaurd and past there it’s more likely to be answered by the nearest vessel. I would still feel better with a satellite tracker then an eprib.
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      • #4
        Didn’t know there were non international MMSI numbers.....but regs in US are different found his which is interesting I just applied showed my operators cert and wa sissued my MMSI by ofcom

        In the interim, VHF handhelds used in the United States should use the MMSI assigned to the ship to which the handheld is primarily associated, even if another radio on that ship uses the same MMSI. Non-commercial users of VHF handhelds not primarily associated with any single ship may use an MMSI provided by an organization such as BOAT US, SEA TOW and U.S. Power Squadron (see above). VHF handhelds should not be used ashore absent FCC or NTIA authorization allowing such use.


        • #5
          U.S does seem to have softer laws on this than E.U. It's illegal to use marine VHF in EU without a licence. You may apply for callsign & MMSI once you're licensed which costs around Ôé¼300 including training. I've no doubt a MMSI being transmitted on Ch. 70 will be answered by a receiving Coast Guard station -anywhere in the World.