Does your DSC-enabled radio know who you are? Of course, no rational person would overlook entering an MMSI and connecting to a GPS receiver, but of course, they do, especially recreational boaters.
Warns the US Coast Guard:
As the US Coast Guard’s new marine radio network Rescue 21 becomes operational, rescue centers can now receive instant distress alerts from commonly used DSC-capable VHF marine radios. However, approximately 90% of VHF DSC distress alerts received by the Coast Guard do not contain position information, and approximately 60% do not contain a registered identity. The Coast Guard cannot effectively respond to a DSC distress alert sent from such a radio.
This means that search and rescue efforts may normally be suspended when:
* no communications with the distressed vessel can be established,
* no further information or means of contacting the vessel can be obtained from other sources, and
* no position information is known.
FIRST Obtain a Maritime Mobile Installation Identity (MMSI) and enter it into your radio. MMSI numbers are issued by the Federal Communications Commission if your vessel otherwise requires a station license, or BOATUS, (http://www.boatus.com/mmsi), Sea Tow (http://www.seatow.com/mmsi), or the U.S. Power Squadrons (http://www.usps.org/php/mmsi)
THEN Interconnect your radio to a GPS receiver using a two-wire NMEA 0183 interface on all DSC-equipped marine radios and on most GPS receivers. Instructions should be provided in the radio and GPS operators manual. Further information is provided and will be routinely updated in http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?