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Old 27-12-2015, 17:42   #46
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Originally Posted by Cadence View Post
I'm an old fool. I can't imagine someone off shore without epirb. All the talk about bells and whistles electronically.
My last three off-shore trips have been helping to deliver brand new yachts from the factory in NE Germany to the dealership in the UK who will then finish fitting them out and sell them on to the new owners (and register them in the UK)

No EPIRP, those boat didn't even have an MMSI number yet to register an EPIRP, or a DSC radio, or even a name to use when using the VHF....

It can get interesting when calling up Kiel Canal control when your yacht's only identification is the manufacturer's build number..

My solution, in case of emergencies, is to carry a PLB ( a GPS equipped Personal Locator Beacon, which is like a mini EPRIP that doesn't have to be registered to a specific MMSI), and a Personal AIS Beacon which will hopefully attract the attention of vessels in the vicinity faster than the PLB which has to go via the UK monitoring service at Falmouth (as it has a UK registration) who then broadcast a request for vessels in the vicinity to assist in the search.

I also have a waterproof hand-held VHF so that I can (hopefully) call up any vessel that I is within line of sight giving my approximate position....

The final part of my personal survival equipment is a new larger buoyancy life jacket that can support me and the weight of the bits of technology that I have hung off of it, should I actually end up in the water.

Now all I have to do if the worst happens is hope that I can survive long enough in the North Sea in Winter for help to find me... (and preferably that I am still on the yacht or in its life-raft as that will give me more time...)

I am not electronically confused I just want to increase my chances of surviving!

Perhaps I should switch to sailing in warmer waters, but then at least in the North Sea you don't need shark repellent, as it appears that they don't like to eat their food if it is frozen.
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Old 27-12-2015, 17:54   #47
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

For those of us who sail in US waters with a VHF radio, we have all heard mayday and securité transmissions. The Coast Guard will ask the questions mentioned above, e.g., lat/long, number of persons on board, nature of the emergency, etc. Lat/Long read from a GPS plotter with its precision to the umpteenth decimal point may well be overkill in some cases, but there is far less likelihood for error when read from the plotter as opposed to a panicked crew scrabbling about a chart with a set of dividers. The Coast Guard will certainly respond to a call for help with the location give as "2 miles SW of Old Bald Head," but many mariners have a hard time judging distances in the day, to say nothing at night.

As for questions like how many on board, and if you respond "two" does that mean they will stop looking after two are recovered, come on. They might just think it is important to know how many people are on board so they send the right size patrol craft or that they have an adequate number of people on hand to assist.

I used to think the USA had a mania for licensing everything just to make revenue, but the more I am out on the water, the more I feel there ought to be a mandatory exam for anyone operating a VHF. You can actually get a license without even taking an exam, so the license is really not the issue. There are too many selfish, rude or idiotic people out there who simply do not understand or will not take the time to learn to use a VHF properly, a minor chore which contributes to the safety and pleasure of all boaters.
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Old 27-12-2015, 19:52   #48
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Why the number of persons?
Solo sailors not worth rescuing?
Black couples are next.
Babies co-located with tv cameras very important to be rescued? (Provided rescuers look heroic?)
If the rescuer find one corpse, do they keep searching for day's in case there was more than one person?
But I guess this what courses are all about.
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Old 27-12-2015, 20:23   #49
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Originally Posted by Goodall_M1 View Post
Possibly because once the rescuers have recovered two bodies of people who didn't bother to have life-jackets on they know it is time to call off the search...

Or for them to know that it is worth continuing to search as there are actually more casualties out there somewhere...
Indeed the first detail of information needs to be the position.
The best way is to mention first a general statement like: "We are about 20 Nm NNW of Cape Something"
This then to be followed by the GPS coordinates; degrees and minutes are in most cases sufficient, as by the time the rescue boat arrives, the boat and/or persons in the water may have drifted more than a Nm anyway. If one wants to give decimals of minutes, only the first one is significant. Like El Pinguino said : "Were those coordinates taken from the bow or the stern?" or something like it. The more numbers are broadcasted, the more opportunity for errors!

The first general statement will alert other boats in the neighbourhood to take note and they then will jot down the position, one hopes. Just a set of numbers might not alert them that the vessel in distress is close to them.
The GPS reading will give the rescue team a LKP (Last Known Position), and from there they will calculate the position for ETA, taking into account local wind, current, and tides.

Second detail of information is the number of persons on board. Indeed, as Goodall said, the rescue team can stop looking when all have been accounted for. However the information is also important even before the sea rescue team leaves terra firma: the number of persons on board influences the decision on the resources that need to be engaged. That way the correct number and size of vessel(s) can be deployed. For example if the Queen Mary called a mayday, would need a different response compared to that of a 8 mt yacht with 3 persons on board.

Hmmm, I have been a (volunteer) sea rescue skipper for 15 years, and in most cases the information we receive prior to a rescue is sketchy, for us the fill in the blanks. And... if all information is there, the rescue is virtually always timely, with the chance for good outcomes maximised.
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Old 27-12-2015, 20:42   #50
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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I have mixed feelings about posting the mayday "script" near the radio. Yes, there is a technically correct procedure to follow, and I like to think that in an emergency, I'll be cool, collected and smoothly follow it. But even that's not guaranteed.

Everyone is nervous the first time they key the mic. For many, it's downright intimidating. For my passengers, I'd rather they just know (1) to put the radio on channel 16; (2) to press the mic button, pause, then speak clearly, and (3) that someone will come on and help them through it once they RELEASE the button.

With newer radios, just tell them to push the red distress button for 10 seconds. It's really only 3-6 seconds, but in an emergency they'll be impatient.

What they say isn't that important. Coast Guard watchstanders are trained to talk beginners through any situation, and ask all the right questions. More than likely, the tone of voice will let whoever's listening know that it's an emergency.
There are some good points in above post, the 3 point manual (how to use a radio) is simple!!. And indeed experienced radio operators will extract the correct information. Although tone of voice (ie hysteria) is not always in proportion to the calamity.

Like Mike (I think it was Mike), I think it is good idea to have some scripts handy. In real or perceived emergency situations most people do NOT think logically or clearly. Such a script might just what is needed to bring back the brain to some common sense thinking.
In my line of (paid) work I deal with emergencies daily and sometimes several times a day. AND we use in most instances scripted guidelines, and we do not rely on memory.
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Old 27-12-2015, 20:59   #51
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Originally Posted by HankOnthewater View Post

Like Mike (I think it was Mike), I think it is good idea to have some scripts handy. In real or perceived emergency situations most people do NOT think logically or clearly. Such a script might just what is needed to bring back the brain to some common sense thinking.
In my line of (paid) work I deal with emergencies daily and sometimes several times a day. AND we use in most instances scripted guidelines, and we do not rely on memory.
If you do not have script the CG is pretty good about asking the right questions.

I heard one the started "Help, Help, Help"

When the CG responded they talked them through the problem.

Of course knowing what to say would be more efficient.

Do you also have/need a script for Pan-Pan and Securite messages?

I have never issued a Mayday, but I have done the other two.
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Old 27-12-2015, 21:15   #52
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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They are not that expensive. A great insurance investment for your life. As I recall the one I bought was about $500 12 year ago, or so. I have it unregistered. It needs a battery I'm sure.
Not that expensive I know. Though that is 4-500% more than my liquid assets right now.

Do you really have one if it needs a battery? Maybe your not on board right now.
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Old 27-12-2015, 21:21   #53
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Originally Posted by four winds View Post
Agree wotname, wouldn't that walk all over anyone in the area who might be trying to relay message or help in some way?

And to be clear, start with mayday mayday mayday X 3, then also state mayday one time in step 2a above?
Yes


and


Yes

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Old 28-12-2015, 04:10   #54
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

Thanks Wotname, I'll make that correction. And to Jackdale for pointing it out.

Anybody ever do a practice call with the radio off? I mean hands on style. For example, I start by pressing the 16 button. It's red on mine and I can see it without glasses. The digital display can be a mystery in some lighting, or under stress I'm thinking. So this guard's against having it on a different channel inadvertantly.

And how about practicing the prowords for your boat name? So under stress they can be said quickly and without thinking much.

I may have read this idea of hands on dry run practice maybe. If so it was probably on this site. But I think it would help me in the event of a real emergency, a muscle memory/mind memory thing.

When someone tells me their boat name I try to think of the prowords, and I may succeed, but it's never efficient. My own spills right out.
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Old 28-12-2015, 05:07   #55
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Originally Posted by four winds View Post
And how about practicing the prowords for your boat name? So under stress they can be said quickly and without thinking much.
Better yet, just practice the whole phonetic alphabet regularly, so that it all comes automatically, not just your boat's name.

It can be as simple as spelling out licence plates you see on the road or street signs etc, etc.

(And BTW, phonetic alphabet and Prowords are actually two different things)
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Old 28-12-2015, 05:34   #56
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

Good idea Stu, I have done that some but my sun baked old brain ain't what it used to be.

I googled what to call the alphabet before that post because I couldn't remember. And came up with procedure words, though only read the hit lead ins. I'll dig deeper for clarification.

Anything related to safety and seamanship are front of mind for me since I live out here. Cause that where the sailing happens.
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Old 28-12-2015, 06:46   #57
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

good info, but would like to add when updating to a new radio also install a RAM
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Old 28-12-2015, 07:10   #58
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

Quote:
Originally Posted by four winds View Post

Anybody ever do a practice call with the radio off? I mean hands on style.

And how about practicing the prowords for your boat name?
Yes! Yes!

Stu mentions a great idea of car license plates. Good one!

As for practise, yes! Do it with a friend playing Coast Guard with the radio off and go through diferent emergencies.

Then, maybe, go to a low power channel, say International VHF 75 and switching radios to low power, have you and a friend do it 'live'. If you use the pro-word "Exercise" instead of "mayday" in every transmission you should be ok legally. But make sure you say "Exercise" as the first word in every transmission.

Obviously you would not use your DSC red button in a live training exercise!

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Old 28-12-2015, 08:51   #59
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Originally Posted by Goodall_M1 View Post
My last three off-shore trips have been helping to deliver brand new yachts from the factory in NE Germany to the dealership in the UK who will then finish fitting them out and sell them on to the new owners (and register them in the UK)

No EPIRP, those boat didn't even have an MMSI number yet to register an EPIRP, or a DSC radio, or even a name to use when using the VHF....

It can get interesting when calling up Kiel Canal control when your yacht's only identification is the manufacturer's build number..

My solution, in case of emergencies, is to carry a PLB ( a GPS equipped Personal Locator Beacon, which is like a mini EPRIP that doesn't have to be registered to a specific MMSI), and a Personal AIS Beacon which will hopefully attract the attention of vessels in the vicinity faster than the PLB which has to go via the UK monitoring service at Falmouth (as it has a UK registration) who then broadcast a request for vessels in the vicinity to assist in the search.

I also have a waterproof hand-held VHF so that I can (hopefully) call up any vessel that I is within line of sight giving my approximate position....

The final part of my personal survival equipment is a new larger buoyancy life jacket that can support me and the weight of the bits of technology that I have hung off of it, should I actually end up in the water.

Now all I have to do if the worst happens is hope that I can survive long enough in the North Sea in Winter for help to find me... (and preferably that I am still on the yacht or in its life-raft as that will give me more time...)

I am not electronically confused I just want to increase my chances of surviving!

Perhaps I should switch to sailing in warmer waters, but then at least in the North Sea you don't need shark repellent, as it appears that they don't like to eat their food if it is frozen.
It sounds as though an exposure suit might be a good investment in your professional situation?
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Old 28-12-2015, 16:00   #60
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Originally Posted by four winds View Post
Anybody ever do a practice call with the radio off? I mean hands on style.
Good idea. I've always wanted to build a radio emulator that looks and works like the real thing, but just records the call for play back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by four winds View Post
And how about practicing the prowords for your boat name? So under stress they can be said quickly and without thinking much.
It's great to know the phonetic alphabet, and the best way to learn is to use it. I had great fun teasing a rookie radio watchstander by passing a very long, very Polish crewmember's name - spelled out phonetically.

But in an emergency, the correct spelling of the boat's name isn't high on the list. It's can be downright comical when you hear one name sent, and something very different coming back from the watchstander. If the comms last long enough, they'll eventually correct it. If not, there are far more important data to pass.

And don't get me started on how all the "cute" boat names sound in an emergency.
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