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Coast Guard responses hindered by lack of info

In a Marine Safety Alert issued Sept. 1, the Coast Guard reports that it cannot effectively respond to a majority of the distress alerts received by its new Rescue 21 marine radio system from digital selective calling-equipped VHF marine radios, because they do not contain position information or a registered identity.

If a VHF radio with DSC capability is properly registered and interfaced with GPS, it transmits vessel information, position and the nature of distress (if entered), at the push of a button.

In its Sept. 1 Marine Safety Alert, the Coast Guard reported that approximately 90 percent of the VHF DSC distress alerts it receives do not contain position information – and approximately 60 percent do not contain a registered identity.

Recreational vessels used solely in domestic U.S. waters that do not require a FCC station license may obtain a MMSI form from BoatU.S., Sea Tow or the U.S. Power Squadrons.

The Coast Guard also reminded boaters that any information originally provided should be updated as changes occur.

Click here for the full report.