In 1991, BoatUS made it easier for recreational boaters on U.S. waters to own a VHF radio by helping to persuade Congress to eliminate a $150 annual license requirement and fee.
Nine years later, the recreational boater organization began a no-cost DSC-VHF radio Maritime Mobile Service Identity registration service that BoatUS said has become the largest of its kind.
Now BoatUS offers an online MMSI registration for $25 to obtain an MMSI number.
“Because our on-water dispatch centers never close, BoatUS can help expedite a U.S. Coast Guard response at any hour and provide boat and emergency contact information,” BoatUS president Margaret Podlich said in a statement. “It’s about giving rescuers descriptive information as quickly as possible to improve the odds of a successful rescue.”
A recently signed memorandum of understanding with the Coast Guard cements the relationship.
Boaters often refer to an MMSI number as the boat’s “telephone” number; however, BoatUS said the technology and on-water advantages go far beyond simply being able to call other boats directly. When properly connected to a chart plotter or GPS, a Digital Selective Calling VHF speeds rescuers’ response times with precise location information.
BoatUS said DSC also makes it simple to trigger a mayday call with one touch of the red distress button and the technology works seamlessly with America’s modern, national Rescue-21 system.
BoatUS said that more than 150,000 boaters have chosen its MMSI registration service.
“This program is positioned to grow with the ever changing world of DSC and boat owner needs,” Podlich said.