VHF Marine Radio
Most recreational boaters will never use their VHF Marine Radios for emergencies. Required by the United States Coast Guard, however, a marine radio can be a literal lifesaver in a crisis. While many boaters take a spin on the waterways just for an afternoon when the weather is bright and calm, storm fronts and swells can occur unexpectedly. There is also the very real possibility for an accident while waterskiing, towing, or just diving off the stern. While boating certification classes will have covered what to do in an emergency, its urgency mandates quickly sending a distress call. Here's the procedure:
Digital Selective Calling (DSC) Radio:DSC MAYDAY
Procedure for VHF Channel 16 MAYDAY:
Tune VHF marine radio, to channel 16.
Distress signal "MAYDAY", (3x).
The words "THIS IS", (once only).
Name of vessel in distress (3x) and call sign or boat registration number, stated just once.
Repeat "MAYDAY" and name of vessel, only once.
Give position of vessel by latitude or longitude or by bearing (true or magnetic, state which) and distance to a well-known landmark to assist a responding station in locating your vessel. Include any information on vessel movement such as course, speed and destination.
Nature of distress (sinking, fire etc.).
Kind of assistance desired.
Number of passengers onboard.
Additional information to facilitate rescue, such as vessel size, persons requiring medical attention, color hull, cabin, etc.
Say the word "OVER" when finished.
Stay on the radio if possible. Even after the message has been received, the Coast Guard can find you faster if you are transmitting a radio signal that a rescue boat or aircraft can hone in on.
Repeat at intervals until an answer is received.
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