Originally Posted by captnjack
You are getting this backwards. The most important element to summon help by any means possible as the ship is on fire or sinking. (Otherwise it should have been a Pan-pan)
The MMSI is gravy. Nice to add if you can in ideal circumstances but in many cases not likely to add much to the efforts to find and extract you and your passengers. The MMSI is a string of numbers which could with iffy communications be misunderstood as position information. When in doubt Lat/long takes precedence over MMSI.
In this country our own Coast Guard only got universal digital capacity in the past couple years. In many countries it doesn't yet exist on the ground. So emphasizing the MMSI is misplaced IMHO. I would also add that most recreational vessels in this country don't even have call signs either. The requirement to get one for domestic voyages was relaxed many years ago.
Ok, let's start with where I agree with you. The most important thing is to summon help by any means possible. I'm pretty well with you on that one
Now, where do I have some issues:
1/ Pan Pan unless on fire or sinking. If you have a serious illness or injury, for example - make that a Mayday too, please. If it's me that's seriously ill or hurt, I DEFINITELY want it to be a Mayday!
2/ MMSI is nice to add. Yes, fair point - but you need to consider the people taking your call too. If you've sent a DSC alert (ie you've pressed the red button), what will appear on screen is your MMSI. If you then use your callsign or your boat name to identify yourself and don't include your MMSI, you open the possibility of confusion, Making it clear that there is one distress call and not two increases your chances of success. If your country hasn't caught up with digital technology yet, fair enough. Where it is used, it's best to use it properly
3/MMSI could be confused with Lat and Long. I'd argue that is unlikely - but my stronger argument would be not to use Lat and Long anyway. Position as bearing and distance from something you can see is usually a better option. As you say though, position is more important than MMSI, no question about that