What is the GMDSS ?GMDSS consists of several systems, some of which are new, but many of which have been in operation for many years. The GMDSS system is intended to perform the following functions: Alerting (including position determination of the unit in distress), Search and rescue coordination, Locating, Maritime safety information broadcasts, General communications, Bridge-to-bridge communications Specific radio carriage requirements depend upon the ship's area of operation (Sea Area), rather than its tonnage. The system also provides redundant means of distress alerting, and emergency sources of power.Recreational vessels do not need to comply with GMDSS radio carriage requirements, but will increasingly use the Digital Selective Calling (DSC) VHF radios and offshore vessels may elect to equip themselves further.
What is the GMDSS Sea Area ?GMDSS Sea AreasGMDSS sea areas serve two purposes: to describe areas where GMDSS services are available, and to define what type of GMDSS equipment a ship must carry. With GMDSS, the number and type of radio safety equipment ships have to carry depend upon the areas in which they travel. GMDSS sea areas are defined by governments.Area A1An area within the radiotelephone coverage of at least one VHF coast station in which continuous digital selective calling (Ch.70/156.525Mc.) alerting and radiotelephony services are available.Such an area could extend typically 20 nautical miles from the Coast Station.Area A2An area, excluding Sea Area A1, within the radiotelephone coverage of at least one MF coast station in which continuous DSC (2187.5 kHz) alerting and radiotelephony services are available.For planning purposes this area typically extends to up to 100 nautical miles (190 km) offshore,but would exclude any A1 designated areas.Area A3An area, excluding sea areas A1 and A2, within the coverage of an INMARSAT geostationary satellite in which continuous alerting is available.This area lies between about latitude 76 Degree NORTH and SOUTH,but excludes A1 and/or A2 designated areas.
Area A4An area outside Sea Areas A1, A2 and A3 is called Sea Area A4. This is essentially the polar regions, north and south of about 76 degrees of latitude, excluding any other areas.
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