Time to Unregister

Posted: August 1, 2014  |  Tag: Miscellaneous

By: John Temple

I’m getting ready to sell my boat. It has a DSC radio that I’ve registered with the FCC. I have a government-issued call sign, and I’ve entered the MMSI identification number into the radio. When I sell the boat, with the radio installed, how do I “unregister” the radio call sign and remove the MMSI number? I do not plan to buy a new boat, so I will not be transferring the radio or any ID information to a different boat.
I will first address your question and then get into some depth about VHF licenses and MMSI. Unregistering an MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) can be simple, although not without some time and paperwork. The form you need to file can be found at transition.fcc.gov/Forms/Form605/605.pdf. The key is to file Form 605, which is the same form for a new application, but there is a place to put in CA — Cancellation of License. However, the MMSI number is normally transferred with the boat; it identifies the boat, not you.

Another way to do this transfer or cancellation can be to contact the supplier of the equipment you registered. West Marine offers great help. BoatU.S. can also help.

This all raises the question of why you need that MMSI. If you buy a VHF radio equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC), registering the MMSI information is required. Your VHF radio is connected with your GPS, and your information is then transmitted with any emergency transmission to the Coast Guard.

Another important issue is the registration of a VHF radio and a license. In the U.S., regulations for an operator’s license have been relaxed and you do not need to have a VHF operator license within the U.S. It is still required to have a VHF license when traveling to Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, etc.

Finally, do not forget about your Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB). If your EPIRB is registered, it will help rescue forces find you faster in an emergency. If for some reason your beacon activates inadvertently and it is registered, the call you receive from the Coast Guard will be a friendly one. If it isn’t, well...

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