What is GMDSS?
GMDSS is short for the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System. The system is international and uses a wide range of communication technologies to ensure fast and automatic alerting of rescue authorities ashore as well as ships nearby, in case of a marine distress situation.
All ocean-going passenger and cargo ships above 300 gross tonnage engaged in international traffic, is required to operate with equipment conform to the standards within the GMDSS. By complying with the system’s standards, ships nearby and rescue authorities quickly will be alerted with minimal delay if needed.
With GMDSS equipment installed, the ship is safer at sea. It provides for automated alerting and location if the crew doesn’t have the time to send out a distress call. Because of this, the ship is more likely to receive assistance in a distress situation. GMDSS also requires the ships to receive broadcasts of maritime safety information for proactive handling of possible distress events, as well as to carry EPIRBs which will be released from sinking ships and alert rescuers about location and identity.