VHF Mayday Distress Alert & Voice Call:

Distress Pro Words

  • Mayday - Used when in 'grave and imminent danger' Distress call by the station in distress & At the start of each transmission that is relevant to distress working
  • Mayday Relay - Distress Relay signal proword used by a station transmitting a Distress Relay call on
  • behalf of another station in distress 
  • Seelonce Mayday - Announced by coastguard to impose radio silence during a distress situation on a working channel which is being used to conduct the rescue
  • Seelonce Feenee - Announced by coastguard to say that the radio silence is now over
  • Distress Feenee - Announcement made to indicate the distress situation is resolved

Use of scenarios for student practicals - examples:

Example 1)

There are 4 crew onboard the vessel with you, one has suffered a serious head injury and is unconscious after slipping on the companionway step. 

Your position: 49° 27'.68N  000° 03'.59W 

Initiate a DSC distress alert. 

Send a distress call & message

 

Example 2)

You have a man overboard and you have lost sight of him. 

There are 3 remaining onboard with you. The casualty was wearing a lifejacket with a light. 

Your position: Approximately 4 miles from Boscombe Pier Compass Bearing: 345º

Initiate a DSC distress alert, Send a distress call & message.

 

Example 3) 

There are 2 crew onboard the vessel with you, a fire has started in the engine bay and is now out of control, you plan to evacuate to your liferaft. 

Your position: 50° 29'.05N  003° 24'.21W 

Initiate a DSC distress alert 

Send a distress call & message


When to make a Mayday Distress Call?

Vessel, Vehicle, Aircraft or Person is in Grave and Imminent Danger..

STEP 1)

Does the VHF have a red distress button? 
IF YES, go to Step 2
If NO, go to Step 4

STEP 2)

IF TIME ALLOWS: 

  • Press the Red Distress Button Once to initiate the menu.
  • Select the relevant option from the list on the VHF screen that is most relevant to the situation i.e. flooding, fire, collision, grounding etc

STEP 3)

Press and Hold the Red Distress Button until the 5 second count down ends. 

What does Pressing the VHF DSC Distress Button Do? 

Sends a DSC alert to all DSC enabled VHF sets 'in range' which triggers an alarm.

At minimum the following information will be sent: 

  • Your MMSI 
  • Nature of Distress (If you have selected this - See Step 2)
  • Position (If the VHF/DSC set you are using is connected to a GPS or Chart Plotter) 

How to make a Mayday Voice Call on a VHF marine radio?

STEP 4)

Select channel 16

STEP 5)

Mayday Distress call (initial shout for 'Help'):

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday

This is _____________________

Callsign: ___________________

MMSI: _____________________ (only if your VHF set is DSC enabled will you have an MMSI number)

STEP 6)

Mayday Distress Message:

M

Mayday

I know you've said it before in the initial distress call, but definitely say it again..

I

This is:________________

Vessel Name, Callsign, MMSI (if you have one)

P

My Position is:___________________

Latitude & Longitude OR bearing & distance from a charted object / place

D

Distress:____________________

Briefly explain what's wrong i.e. sinking, fire, aground  etc

A

Assistance:__________________

What do you need? i.e. Evacuation, Tow etc - how much time i.e. request immediate assistance

N

Number:____________________

How many people are onboard? 

I

Information:_______________

What else do people need to know? Particularly that which may help with the rescue..

0

Over:

OVER is an invitation for someone to reply.

Example Mayday Voice Call:

  • Mayday Mayday Mayday
  • This is RIB Erebus, Erebus, Erebus
  • Callsign: Three Romeo Delta Charlie
  • MMSI: 232099802
  • Mayday
  • RIB Erebus
  • My Position Is: Five Zero Degrees Two Three Decimal Four Two North, Three Degrees Four Five Decimal Four Six West
  • We have a Fire onboard
  • Require Immediate assistance
  • Four persons onboard
  • Evacuating to liferaft
  • Over

TEST YOURSELF:

Download
Mayday Distress Call Scenario Test.pdf
Adobe Acrobat Document 95.4 KB

CHECK YOURSELF:

Download
Mayday Distress Call Scenario Test Check
Adobe Acrobat Document 96.0 KB