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Boat Owners Association of The United States
880 S. Pickett St., Alexandria, VA 22304
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Press Contact: Scott Croft, 703-461-2864,

TowBoatU.S. Provides Free DSC-VHF Radio Checks For Boaters In Gulf, FL Atlantic Coast

New Service to Ensure Your High-Tech Radio is Working Properly

ALEXANDRIA, Va. June 18, 2009 - With some help from TowBoatU.S. companies on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts from Alabama to New Jersey, recreational boaters will now get peace of mind knowing they have correctly installed their new Digital Selective Calling (DSC) VHF marine radio - and it's functional. A free, DSC-VHF radio check service is now being offered under a single TowBoatU.S. digital hailing number, 0-338-04000, which allows boaters to easily call their local TowBoatU.S. tower for a complimentary DSC-VHF radio check.

The TowBoatU.S. 0-338-04000 MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) number is available to boaters hailing from the Gulf Coast at Mobile, AL, Florida and the Atlantic coast up to Sandy Hook, NJ. When this number is "dialed" on a DSC-VHF radio keypad, a boater will automatically be connected to the closest TowBoatU.S. port or response boat within radio range.

"By helping to ensure that this lifesaving device is working properly, we improve boaters' safety. That's important to all of us," said BoatU.S. Vice President of Towing Services Jerry Cardarelli.

While nearly all fixed mount VHF radios sold today are DSC equipped, boaters have reported that it can be hard to complete a digital radio check unless they have the MMSI of another boater.

DSC-VHF radios offer significant safety improvements over a standard VHF radio. A DSC-VHF includes a mayday distress button that allows anyone on board to summon emergency help. When connected to a GPS, the radio will give rescuers your exact location information.

In addition, these radios work seamlessly with the U.S. Coast Guard's modern "Rescue 21" system, now operating on the Gulf Coast, Florida and Eastern seaboard up to Long Island, NY. More regions are scheduled to get Rescue 21 service throughout 2009-2011. The system already has proven to greatly reduce search times for boaters seeking rescue. These new radios also offer more improved telephone-like enhancements, such as "direct" calling.

If you'd like to learn more about DSC-VHF radios, go to the free, online DSC-VHF tutorial at where you can also register to receive an MMSI number for your own DSC radio.


Some tips for completing a free TowBoatU.S. DSC-VHF radio check:
· Before a DSC-VHF radio check, boaters must register their DSC-VHF radio to receive their own MMSI number and program it into their radio before they can make any call. BoatU.S. provides this registration service for free at .
· Boaters should call their local TowBoatU.S. company's landline telephone number first to schedule the free DSC-VHF radio check ahead of time. You can find the phone number for your local TowBoatU.S. company online at When you call, also ask what local VHF channel your towing company uses as this will be the channel to set your radio at prior to making the radio check.
· Just like putting a speed dial in your cell or home phone, boaters can enter the TowBoatU.S. 0-338-04000 MMSI in their DSC-VHF radio address book.
· DSC-VHF radio checks should be done using the "high power" (25 watts) function.
· The free radio checks will not confirm the operation of the one-button distress a.k.a. mayday button feature. However, TowBoatU.S. operators will confirm if your GPS latitude and longitude position is displayed during the radio check.
· The DSC-VHF radio must be installed (fixed-mount) and connected to a GPS or Loran to ensure the Coast Guard and others will receive your location when using the distress button.
· Kindly keep in mind that the fleet's priority remains responding to towing calls.

About DSC-VHF Radios:
DSC-VHF radios allow boaters to communicate much like a cell phone. To make a ship-to-ship DSC-VHF radio call, boaters simply enter the other vessel's unique Maritime Mobile Service Identity (MMSI) number of whom they want to speak to on the radio's keypad. The radio connects the call electronically (without a voice) on DSC-VHF channel 70, and then automatically switches to a selected working VHF channel where (non-private) voice communication takes place. A one-button mayday distress feature provides rescuers and nearby vessels with exact latitude and longitude location information, greatly reducing search and rescue response times. To view a tutorial on DSC-VHF radios from the BoatU.S. Foundation for Boating Safety, go to .

About BoatU.S. Towing Services:
Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatU.S.) is the nation's leading advocate for recreational boaters providing its 600,000 members with a wide array of consumer services, including on-the-water towing assistance provided by TowBoatU.S. and Vessel Assist Pacific. Combined, these two towing fleets offer North American boaters the largest network of U.S., Canadian and Bahamian towing ports with over 290 locations and over 600 towing assistance vessels -- three times that of any other service provider.



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