204 Home Forums 20Forum April Safety Message

This topic contains 4 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  John 5 months, 3 weeks ago.

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  • #96093 Reply

    Mimi Fleet 204 Safety Officer

    Here is the information from the April Safety Message.

    Did you know that your VHF radio can be used as a tracking device? To the best of my knowledge, all marine band radios made in the last 15 years have Digital Selective Calling (DSC)

    Read article here
    Mario Vittone Safety site

    Handheld VHF’s have DSC also, according to the author.

    In order to use Digital Selective Calling one must register for a Maritime Mobile Service Identification number. One way to do this is through membership in BoatUS.
    MMSI link

    I choose this route because I also wanted Boat US trailer towing service. $36.00
    Membership link here
    Boat US link

    John Harmon also had information on how to get a MMSI number through the Oneida Lake Assocationhttps://www.boatus.com/membership/

    The registration process is a tad time consuming, but “If your boat has a radio, chances are you have the the ability to – with the push of a few buttons – tell the Coast Guard who you are, the name of your vessel, your exact location, and the nature of the emergency you are having while simultaneously sending a distress message to every other vessel within line of sight.”

    Pretty cool.

    Remember Safety is NO accident:>

  • #96095 Reply

    John Harmon

    Great info, Mimi! Most modern VHF radios come equipped with DSC.
    The two most important items to get started are:
    1. You need an MMSI number. This is your unique marine identifier. It takes a few minutes to register online using the link Mimi has provided above.
    2. In order for the service to find you in an emergency, you must connect your radio to a GPS. So, either your radio has GPS installed (most hand-helds don’t) or you can wire your VHF radio to your GPS/Chartplotter/Fishfinder. It’s an easy two-wire connection that is pretty standard for all models of radios.

    The Oneida Lake Association Annual Meeting is at Gillete Road Middle School on May 1 at 7p. We’ll have a member of the US Coast Guard Aux talking about DSC. Comne check it out. Also, you can read more about DSC at:

  • #96110 Reply

    Mimi Fleet 204 Safety Officer

    Thanks, John

    Soooo, if my handheld is not a GPS, it will NOT work as a locator?

    I don’t understand, everything I read said it would work.

    Back to Google.


    • #96301 Reply


      Unfortunately, if your hand-held radio does not have integrated GPS, then DAC can’t find you. However, you can still use the DSC function to hail other vessels. You’ll have to provide your location on channel 16.

      Obviously, DSC works best with a fixed radio. Sorry!

  • #96166 Reply


    Here is more information


    Looking forward to hearing what John has to report about the Coast Gaurd auxiliariies talk on DSC.


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