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Global Distress and Safety Systems/Digital Selective Calling Info

This page will provide information and links to documents that pertain to safety of life at sea and in particular the use of the new digital capabilities of DSC radios and GPS systems.

DSC Radios and GMDSS

Many boaters with Digital Selective Calling (DSC) radios think they can just push the red “Distress” button on the front to call for help in an emergency.  However, if the radio hasn't been registered or if it's not connected to the GPS, it may do little good.  Unfortunately, too many boaters with DSC radios haven't registered the radios to get a Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number and haven't connected them to their GPS.  For more information on how to make these distress systems effective click here.

Links to obtain an MMSI (Marine Mobile Service Identifier) number:

Links to more information about GMDSS and DSC radios:


Message from Commodore Vass

Here is a message from National Commodore Vass on the importance of sharpening your skills and knowledge of this technology.


NMEA Interconnection Chart Notes

There are many potential pitfalls for boaters wishing to interconnect their DSC radios and their GPS units.  For information on this from the National Marine Electronics Association click here.

For a specific wiring guide click on this link