Breaker, breaker 1-9

July 20, 2020 in Gear, Safety - 4 Comments

Holy moly have we been on an epic bureaucratic journey trying to get our MMSI number. For you landlubbers, an MMSI, otherwise known as Maritime Mobile Service Identities, is a unique number that is assigned to our vessel. It aids in VHF communications, clearing into customs, and emergency response. The number is associated with our AIS and our VHF. And, it’s connected to our EPIRB (pictured below with a cocktail–for me).

So, what the heck does all of that mean anyway? The AIS (Automatic Identification System) is basically a broadcast system on our boat that tells other vessels around us that we are out there. And, if they have an AIS transponder onboard (and are transmitting), we can see that they are out there.

If we have an AIS and other vessels have an AIS, then we both know exactly where the other is. And, because we both have registered MMSI numbers, we can see information about each other like name of the vessel, home country, type of vessel, length, how fast they are moving, the ship’s bearing, and the CPA (closest point of approach).

In my opinion, the CPA is the most useful piece of information as it tells us how close we will be to the other ship at the closest point (assuming that we both stay on the same heading and maintain the same speed). That comes in super handy when it comes to making decisions about maintaining course (or not).

When we first got the boat, we thought, “easy peasy, we’ll just get our number and put it in our AIS and in our VHF.” Like every damn thing on this boat, it’s not that easy.

The MMSI number is hard coded into the AIS and radio when they are new. So, to have the number changed, means you have to find a technician to come to the boat or ship the hardware back to the manufacturer to have it reprogrammed. That doesn’t sound terrible, right? Wrong. Our equipment is old, it’s hard to find anyone who can service it. And, the manufacturers are not super keen on dealing with such old hardware (they obviously want us to buy new equipment). Sigh.

The other option is to have the MMSI number from the previous owner transferred to us. That doesn’t sound too hard, right? Well, not when the previous owner passed away… which we sadly didn’t discover until we tried reaching out to see if he could help. (RIP, Brian)

Teasing all this info out took days, and we were no closer to having this freaking number.

Then, I found this extremely helpful article. Through it, I discovered we needed to register with the FCC because we are planning on traveling to foreign ports. And, when I went to create the application, I realized I needed to register our EPIRP so that our MMSI and EPIRB are associated.

So pause on getting MMSI and turn all efforts over to getting EPIRB registered.

Fast forward SIX (omg, six!) weeks, we have our EPIRB registered with NOAA. And, we have our MMSI number registered through the FCC (which is good for 10 years!). Next up we need to get a new AIS (because ours hasn’t been sold for nine years) and see if we can find someone to reprogram our VHF. And, you guessed it… if we can’t find a technician, Felicità gets a new radio.

For the time being, we’re broadcasting on AIS as Sea Angel (former boat name), but we’ll just have to go incognito for this first passage. At least we will be visible. And if we need to activate our EPRIB, our emergency contacts will be contacted. Please don’t email us to tell us how many FCC laws we are violating!

Felicità out.

gntsailing

All posts

4 Comments

  • Gloria Mason July 20, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    My big question is “ Where can I get a Mang-O-Rita????” Lol

    • gntsailing July 20, 2020 at 7:56 pm

      Why on Felicità, of course!

  • Anne Lowry Klonsky July 21, 2020 at 7:15 am

    I just kept laughing at all the acronyms. How can you possibly sail without an app that translates all that stuff for you? It’s amazing you two have been so successful so far. Managing bureaucrats and kicking away roadblocks are talents that have served you well. In all spheres. Go Felicita!

    • gntsailing July 21, 2020 at 1:26 pm

      Oh man, the acronyms! Sailing is its own language FOR SURE. I was just talking to a friend and she said she used to beg people on her boat to just say, “left” or “right” instead of “port” and “starboard.” There’s actually utility to not using left and right because it’s all based on which way you are facing. But as you and I are keenly aware of as instructional designers, it is so hard to get our brains process new concepts quickly when they are new.

    Leave a Reply

    Updates straight to your inbox

    Enter your email address to subscribe and receive notifications of new posts.

    Meet Gretchen & Tim

    Meanwhile, over on Instagram

    All our bags are packed, we’re [NOT] ready to go... ⛵️#sailing #cruisinglife #sailingcouple #notgoodbyebutseeyoulater #johnkretschmersailing #gill
    All the feelings as we make our way back to the marina. Grateful to have been able to cross wakes, as they say, so many times over the last five years with @johnkretschmersailing and @travelswithtadji 🔷 Tim commented last night that the next time we see St. Thomas will likely be from the bow of Felicitá. 🔷 Won’t that be something. 😎
    Good morning from Lindbergh Bay 😎
    It’s a little wet in St. Thomas today. We did a 125 NM sail to nowhere yesterday. We left St. Croix around 1415 and headed up past St. Thomas to port and into the Atlantic until about 0330. Each watch drove Quetzal through a squall with gusts to 42 knot. Big seas. We hove to, got ourselves organized, got the preventer set on the main and tacked back downwind to St. Thomas. We just anchored in Lindbergh Bay (in the rain) and are gonna have lunch. Always lots to learn with @johnkretschmersailing 🔷 #sailing #sail #sailingcouple #catalina42 #offshoresailing #vitaminsea #yacht #yachting #bluewatersailing #offshore #oceanlife #saltyvibes #sailingadventure #gntsailing #boatlife #sailinglife #sailinginstagram #sailstagram
    Tim watching the wave set. These winter trade winds don’t disappoint! 🔷 #sailing #sail #sailingcouple #catalina42 #offshoresailing #vitaminsea #yacht #yachting #bluewatersailing #offshore #oceanlife #saltyvibes #sailingadventure #gntsailing #boatlife #sailinglife #sailinginstagram #sailstagram
    A super duper day sailing 40 nm from St. Thomas to Saint Croix in 20-22 knots of wind and 6-7 feet seas. Great surfing off the waves. We owe so much to @johnkretschmersailing for helping to foster and nurture our sailing dreams. We’re ready. 🔷 #sailing #sail #sailingcouple #catalina42 #offshoresailing #vitaminsea #yacht #yachting #bluewatersailing #offshore #oceanlife #saltyvibes #sailingadventure #gntsailing #boatlife #sailinglife #sailinginstagram #sailstagram
    ×
    %d bloggers like this: