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USCG Captain's License

USCG Licensing & Documentation  Application Guidance & Forms  Application Status
License Consultant Mark Grossetti (New England)
Drug Screening Resources  Screening Providers  Medical Review Officers  Certified SAMHSA Labs  
                                                   Gregory Services (Milford CT)

TSA Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC)
Licensed mariners are required to obtain a TWIC card 

TWIC Enrollment
TWIC Card Status Check

USCG Documented Vessel

USCG Requirements National Vessel Documentation Center

Documented Vessel Search (Boat Info World) By Name, Builder, Owner, or Location

FCC Licensing & Registration

Generally, recreational vessels that don't travel to foreign ports or don't transmit radio communications to foreign stations do not need a ship station license for the operation of a marine VHF radio, radar, or EPIRB (although they may opt to obtain a license and call sign). To obtain a ship station license, file Forms 159 and 605 with the FCC. The FCC will mail the license to you and it will be valid for ten years.

FCC Ship Radio Station Licensing Maritime Mobile Service

The class of Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) that operates on 406.025 MHz is accurate to within 1-3 miles as opposed to the 5-10 miles of the 121.5 MHz EPIRB. Each 406 MHz EPIRB transmits its own unique encoded message. If the unit is registered with NOAA, vital information about the vessel in distress can be passed to SAR units. In addition to registering your 406 EPIRB with NOAA, it must also be added to your ship radio station license per FCC regulations.

NOAA 406 EPIRB Registration Beacon Registration Database

Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radios allow mariners to make ship-to-ship private calls. The DSC distress channel (VHF channel 70) is monitored by commercial ships (cargo ships and passenger ships on international voyages are no longer obligated to monitor VHF channel 16). DSC radios have to be registered to work properly in emergency situations. They're also encoded with a unique nine-digit FCC identification number that allows the ship-to-ship calling feature. This unique number, the Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI), is similar to a cell phone number. Once the radio is registered with the FCC, that information and your vessel's information is entered in the US Coast Guard's national distress database.

The major advantage of the DSC radio is its ability to send an automatic "mayday" that identifies the vessel and also, when connected to a LORAN or GPS, can send the vessel's location. The DSC radio operates much like an EPIRB that sends encoded "maydays" directly to satellites. The radio will continue sending the emergency signal even if crew members are unable to.

Another feature of the DSC radio is the ability to place private ship-to-ship calls to other vessels equipped with DSC radio. Basically, if you know the MMSI number of the radio you're calling, only that vessel will receive your message.

For boats that are not required to have an FCC ship station license, an MMSI can be obtained through BoatUS, Maritel or SeaTow. If your boat does require licensing, you'll obtain an MMSI during the application & licensing process when you file Forms 159 and 605 with the FCC.

DSC MMSI Registration BoatUS
DSC MMSI Registration SeaTow

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