This Safety Alert is intended to remind marine radio users of the importance and value of properly configuring their Digital Selective Calling (DSC)-equipped Very High Frequency (VHF) radios to enable them to function properly in an emergency situation.
When properly installed, DSC allows the mariner to hit the red DSC button in an emergency, resulting in the vessel’s geographic coordinates and registered Maritime Mobile Service Identities (MMSI) number to be transmitted to nearby DSC-enabled vessels and shore-based VHF towers.
The Coast Guard strongly recommends that vessel owners, operators, and crewmembers with DSC-equipped VHF radios:
Obtain and properly register an MMSI number. For information on obtaining or registering an MMSI number, see this webpage.
Ensure that the GPS and DSC-equipped radio are interconnected. All DSC-equipped radios, and most GPS receivers, have an NMEA 0183 two-wire data protocol which allows for any model of GPS to be successfully interconnected to any radio model, regardless of manufacturer. Before interconnecting the radio & GPS, one should consult the owner's manuals. For more information, visit this website.