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

MMSIs for Recreational Vessels

Obtaining and Registering an MMSI

Vessels not required to carry a marine radio and who remain in U.S. waters are non-compulsory vessels and do not need an FCC ship station license. 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.

These vessel owners can obtain an MMSI through approved organizations:

  • BOAT US                   U.S. Power Squadrons              Shine Micro  
  • 1-800-563-1536       1-888-367-8777                       1-360- 437-2503

You can also voluntarily obtain an  FCC ship station license and get your MMSI  that way.

If your vessel requires an FCC ship station license, please follow the MMSIs for Commercial, or State, Local or Tribal Government Vessels procedures.

Maintaining your MMSI Registration

MMSI registration 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 periodically update your registration whenever contact or vessel information changes.  MMSI registrants will email you reminders to update and confirm your registration biennially. You can update your contact information anytime by logging on to your registrant’s website.

Note that although Sea Tow is no longer accepting new MMSI registrations, they are continuing to maintain existing ones. Contact SEA TOW at 1-800-4SEATOW.

Who registered my MMSI?

If you do not recall who gave you your MMSI and registered it for you, you can identify that organization by comparing your existing MMSI against those listed in the document MMSI ship station blocks allocated in the US (updated 25 March 2024).

Sailing to Foreign Countries

If you plan to sail to a foreign country, you will need to apply for an FCC ship station license. Unfortunately, you will need to delete your existing own-ship MMSI and replace it with the MMSI provided by the FCC as part of your station license.  You will need to contact the radio manufacturer for instructions on deleting own ship MMSI.  You cannot do it yourself without instruction from the manufacturer. If you travel to a foreign port (e.g., Canada, Mexico, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands), an FCC station license is required. Additionally, if you travel to a foreign port, you are required to have an operator permit.

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 your Radio or Radio-equipped Vessel

See What to do when Selling or Disposing your Radio or Radio-equipped Vessel instructions for 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).

Return to MMSI Page