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Old 28-12-2015, 17:41   #61
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

When I id my VHF course (a good few years back now) the training school had a series of VHF sets with the output amplifier stages disconnected...

Unfortunately the sets still managed to reach the local marina and hence they had had a situation where some local yachtsman had received a "practice" mayday from the course, heard no reply from the coastguard and did a "Mayday Relay" to reach them...

Solent Coastguard (UK) have since been informed that they can ignore any reports of attempted piracy in the Solent from a specific set of yacht names.

But the course did let you transmit a simulation of the various emergency calls and see what they heard like if you were on the receiving end.

Personally I think that I am possibly due (or probably overdue) for a refresher course on VHF and DSC protocols having never had to transmit one since my initial course and having received only two or three maydays where I might have been able to assist and one or two securite messages to get out of areas where I didn't probably want to be. (Securite, securite, this is warship Lancaster warship Lancaster, all vessels please be advised that we are at position X:Y and about to carry out live firing to a range of 8 miles on the Lulworth firing range) is not what you want to hear when you have a yellow special mark 100 yards off your port beam that the chart identifies as "target mark for naval gunnery practice on the Lulworth ranges"....

I had checked with the ARMY that they were not firing, before going across the range (just east of Weymouth in the English Channel) but the pilot guide didn't give a number for the ROYAL NAVY!)
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Old 28-12-2015, 17:54   #62
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

M1--that reminds me of Peter Sellers asking "Does your dog bite? The guy says "No." When Sellers goes to pet him, the dog goes crazy trying to bite him. Sellers says "I thought you said your dog doesn't bite!" Man "It's not my dog."
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Old 28-12-2015, 18:50   #63
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Originally Posted by Goodall_M1 View Post

Personally I think that I am possibly due (or probably overdue) for a refresher course on VHF and DSC protocols having never had to transmit one since my initial course and having received only two or three maydays where I might have been able to assist and one or two securite messages to get out of areas where I didn't probably want to be. (Securite, securite, this is warship Lancaster warship Lancaster, all vessels please be advised that we are at position X:Y and about to carry out live firing to a range of 8 miles on the Lulworth firing range) is not what you want to hear when you have a yellow special mark 100 yards off your port beam that the chart identifies as "target mark for naval gunnery practice on the Lulworth ranges"....
Our VHF weather forecasts include Notices to Shipping. They warn us whether or not Area Whisky Golf (a popular route across Georgia Strait) is active. That is where the US and Canadian navies test torpedoes. I tell folks that WG stands for War Games.

Area WI in Juan de Fuca Strait is used for live ammunition practice is and right in line with my return from Pacific. Area WP is out in the Pacific and war games there have held up my circumnavigation of Vancouver Island.
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Old 28-12-2015, 19:38   #64
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

I think having the instructions card is essential especially if sailing with inexperienced crew. Yes the USCG can get all the information needed from someone without experience but that wastes potentially critical time that make make the difference.

HOWEVER, I quickly learned recently while doing a safety briefing that having the instruction card is useless if you don't show the crew how and where to get the gps coordinates. I realized quickly that my crew did not know how to read the coordinates (inexperience friends Ina charter with me). So now a basic tutorial on reading the GPS coordinates from the plotter is included in my safety briefings when discussing mayday procedures.


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Old 28-12-2015, 20:56   #65
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

Good point. Not only the position, but course and Speed (if applicable).

I was listening to Skeds from the Syd Hobart race. Interestingly enough, they were all giving positions but not course or speed. Seemed strange, though I am away they are also running Yellow Boxes or similar.
If anyone wants to listen to them, the link is just under the timer on the top right of the page. Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race 2015
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Old 28-12-2015, 21:36   #66
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

How did we ever survive without dsc and ais, quite peacefully possibly?
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Old 29-12-2015, 13:52   #67
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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An option to using the geographic position (lat/long) is the relative position (direction and distance from a known point). But folks are so fixated on chart plotters that they do not really know where they are.
While relative position info may be useful, IMHO, it should not be used instead of LAT and LON.

Many times we have been cruising and heard a May Day or Pan Pan, reporting only relative position.

Here's what happens.

1. Receive an emergency call with relative position.
2. Look at chartplotter. See it, respond. Else...
3. Zoom out, too little detail to see landmark info.
4. Start moving cursor and zooming / moving.
5. Get out paper charts and start scanning.

What are we looking for? LAT and LON, so we know how close the vessel is to our current position.

We even heard one May Day where the caller used a local name that only townspeople knew.

I have even seen 2 different charts give a significant island 2 different names.

So my advise is always give LAT and LON, followed by relative position.

This is especially bad when the coasties use the same info, as their broadcast can be heard through repeaters for 100s of miles.

Here is one we had a few years ago.

"May Day, May Day, May Day, this is "Care Free, Care Free, Care Free" (actual name not remembered), May Day, We are run aground on Green Island."...

The CCG responder (sounded like a student) went on to ask a bunch of information that we given correctly, calmly, concisely, and slowly in the May Day Call. Maybe this was to keep the individual on the radio instead of trying to solve the leak, I don't know, but it sounded ridiculous, like they simply weren't listening.

After madly searching and finding a nearby "Green Island", we realized it was the wrong "Green Island" of the 3 that were within 20 miles, after the floundering vessel finally reported LAT and LON.

When I here a May Day, the first step is to grab the phone (to use "notes") or pencil to copy the LAT and LON as soon as it is relayed, and then punch it into the plotter. Bam! Direction, distance, ETA.

(If I don't copy LAT and LON first, by the time I get the LAT entered into the MFD, I can't recall what the LON was).

To me, LAT and LON are the most important pieces of info. People can be ascertaining their proximity and change course, before they even know what the nature of the emergency is, saving precious seconds.

Sometimes relative position does help though.

We responded to a MayDay once where a boat had dragged anchor onto a beach in a very protected cove (Heywood Island in Lake Huron's North Channel).

The owner wanted the CCG to dispatch a rescue vessel immediately.

The CCG asked, "Why don't you just step off the boat onto shore?"

We responded to the CCG with an ETA of 30 minutes.

By the time we got there, one of dinks from the 40 or so boats in the anchorage, had towed them back out.

The owner was sipping a beverage on the rear deck, rather than reporting the "emergency" was over.

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Old 30-12-2015, 21:25   #68
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

Would it be conventional to mention the number of "souls" onboard as one does in aviation?


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Old 30-12-2015, 21:31   #69
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Would it be conventional to mention the number of "souls" onboard as one does in aviation?


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The CG will want to know how many persons are on board.
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Old 30-12-2015, 21:31   #70
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Would it be conventional to mention the number of "souls" onboard as one does in aviation?


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Not really unless you are carrying deceased bodies like some airlines do occasionally. Thus "souls" distinguishes between the currently living and the "others". Knowing the difference is really only important for first responders after the crash!

Persons On Board (POB) is universally understood (I think!).

YMMV

BTW, welcome aboard S_D and hope you remain alive for the long haul voyage
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Old 30-12-2015, 21:33   #71
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Not really unless you are carrying deceased bodies like some airlines do occasionally. Thus "souls" distinguishes between the currently living and the "others". Knowing the difference is really only important for first responders after the crash!

Persons On Board (POB) is universally understood (I think!).

YMMV
Reminds me of the old query: if a plane crashes on the US Canada border, where do they bury the survivors?
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Old 30-12-2015, 21:36   #72
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Re: GPS position during Mayday

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Reminds me of the old query: if a plane crashes on the US Canada border, where do they bury the survivors?

Well they certainly don't bury them in the dead centre of town
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