Navigation Center
United States Coast Guard
U.S. Department of Homeland Security

MMSIs for Commercial, or State, Local, or Tribal Government Vessels

Obtaining and Registering an MMSI

Vessels required by regulation to carry a marine radio or AIS, which are compulsory vessels, and those also who travel outside the U.S. or Canada to foreign ports must apply to the Federal Communications Commission for a ship station license or an amendment to a ship station license in order to obtain an FCC station license and an MMSI.  State, local and tribal governments recognized by the FCC can obtain an FCC ship station license at no charge. Except for AIS-SARTs and VHF handhelds not intended for dedicated use on the vessel, each radio on the vessel must use the same, identical MMSI.

Maintaining your MMSI Registration

FCC ship station license MMSI information is sent to the U.S. Coast Guard so that search and rescue responders can identify and locate mariners who are in distress.  For that reason, it is necessary to keep FCC license contact and vessel information up to date whenever information changes prior to license renewal.  FCC ship station license renewal is normally every ten years. Information can be updated prior to license renewal without charge.

Important: MMSI belongs with the vessel, not the user.  See instructions below for selling or disposing of your radio or radio equipped vessel.

What to do when Selling or Disposing of your Radio or Radio-equipped Vessel

MMSI Format

All ship MMSIs use the format M1I2D3X4X5X6X7X8X9 where in the first three digits represent the Maritime Identification Digits (MID) and X is any figure from 0 to 9. (Hint: Ships transmitting with an MMSI not starting with the digits 201-775 are likely doing so improperly, and may be subject to FCC or USCG enforcement action). The ship MID indicates the flag state or country of registry.

Groups of Ships (DSC only)

Group ship station call identities for calling simultaneously more than one ship use the format 01M2I3D4X5X6X7X8X9, where the first figure is zero and X is any figure from 0 to 9. The MID represents only the territory or geographical area of the administration assigning the group ship station call identity and does not prevent group calls to fleets containing more than one ship nationality.

Users having an MMSI assigned by FCC license, all of which have a trailing zero, may create a group identity by inserting a zero before the identity and removing the trailing zero (e.g. a user having an MMSI of 366123450 is allowed to use the group identity 036612345).

Return to MMSI Page