Why are less than 50% of yachtsman prepared to use DSC (Digital Selective Calling) in 2011? For years now, all new permanent-mount VHF radios (and some portable radios) sold in the states have been equipped with the DSC feature, the one-touch button that can save lives. Think of DSC as an E.P.I.R.B. for your boat, except it’s FREE!
Perhaps the attraction to cell phones and their ‘applications’ is a primary answer, but to think anything your cellular phone can do (assuming you’re in range and have emergency numbers handy) approaches the vital importance of the Coast Guard being able to find you in a minute-critical emergency, is just ignorant.
Why not take the 30-minutes required to get your MMSI number (FREE and easy at Boat US) and program it it in your VHF radio(s)? Is there something (anything?) more important? Read our article on a San Juan Islands misadventure that was nearly a disaster, and get everything you need to know about MMSI numbers.