Coast Guard responses hindered by lack of info

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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.

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