introduced by the International maritime organization in 1992, this forms part of the regulations laid down by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. It broadcasts Marine Safety Information (MSI), such as weather warnings, automatically through Inmarsat and NAVTEX when previously such information had to be obtained manually. Its regulations apply to all passenger and cargo ships over 300 tonnes though smaller vessels are obliged to be equipped with its automated distress signals as it has now supplanted the system where a continuous radio watch on the three main international distress frequencies was kept by coast radio stations and certain ships.
GMDSS caters for three independent methods of relaying distress signals.
See also amver; lifesaving.
GMDSS communications systems as at 2004
Subjects: Maritime History.