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Old 16-11-2014, 18:48   #166
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Over here in Europe Stu, they are trying to get rid of the calling bit as much as possible.
More and more, coast stations are using DSC alerts to announce weather and safety messages.
UK Coastguard is actively encouraging users to use DSC alerts to make calls, rather than a voice call on 16.
Once you get used to it, the use of DSC to make a call is pretty easy, plus it's a test of the system, and gets the user more familiar with the equipment.

Still waiting for some one to spot the deliberate mistake in my last post
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Old 16-11-2014, 20:37   #167
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by nigel1 View Post
Over here in Europe Stu, they are trying to get rid of the calling bit as much as possible.
More and more, coast stations are using DSC alerts to announce weather and safety messages.
UK Coastguard is actively encouraging users to use DSC alerts to make calls, rather than a voice call on 16.
Once you get used to it, the use of DSC to make a call is pretty easy, plus it's a test of the system, and gets the user more familiar with the equipment.

Still waiting for some one to spot the deliberate mistake in my last post
Well, I'll take a stab and say that your about to go into St John's which tells me is a church or your in Canada and as Canada is one of the states of the US, then going in your should have the red to starboard not the green.
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Old 16-11-2014, 21:12   #168
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

I took my GMDSS class in about 2005. It would have been after 2002, and it would have been before 2006. My memory is about 2005.

It was taught by an officer from the United States Coast Guard.

The textbook we used was this: Fletcher, Sue. A Boater's Guide to VHF and GMDSS. Camden, Me.: International Marine/McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Rather than continue our exchange of wit and thinly veiled insult, I've decided to provide my citations for both what I was taught and, therefore, what formed my original opinions. These are intended to be my answer to those who say "go take a class" because, well, I did. Long ago. Here, on this forum, I hoped for more than "go take a class." From those as learned as a physician, an attorney, or others with doctorate level educations, I hoped for hard citations to real information, and a chance to learn more than I've been able to find using my own resources. My mistake.

What follows is from the citation above, and I invite those with questions about these opinions to consult that source. It turns out that during the class, I highlighted several passages about distress traffic, and those highlights are where I formed my initial opinions.

On page 56, in italics, it says (and we had quite a discussion in class, as I recall) "Distress is a situation in which, in the opinion of the master, a vessel, aircraft, vehicle or person is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance."

It goes on to say, in the same paragraph "...A distress alert automatically gives immediate and absolute priority of communication to the vessel in distress and may only be sent with the authority of the master of the vessel."

No diverting every ship in the area. No instant launch of helicopters. No fire walling of throttles. No confiscated boats. No rappelling Coast Guard ninja swimmers. Just immediate and absolute priority of communications. Everyone else shut up and listen, because the Coast Guard and the boat in distress need to talk, to figure out what to do next. That's all.

I see from this thread that there have been changes since my class in international convention, but I've only read one real citation in this thread, and it didn't appear to be binding on anything except making a conscious decision about whether to render aid or not.

As the class I took was taught here in Seattle, to a class of amateur (a word, incidentally, which comes from a root that means "love", and a title of which I am, therefore, quite proud, particularly when compared to someone who sails for mere money) cruisers, a great deal of our discussion hinged around cruising in Puget Sound and the San Juans. We discussed crew overboard specifically, and were taught that crew in the water in Puget Sound is an automatic mayday.

On page 73, in the section titled "Urgency Traffic", the book talks about pan-pan. It says "It is used when there is no imminent danger." The italics are present in the book.

A broken bone has already happened. Like a shot that has already been fired, it is past imminent and is a certainty.

Page 73 goes on to say "There is sometimes a fine line between a situation that is grave and imminent, and one that is urgent but not life threatening. Only the skipper can make the distinction, and it must be remembered that an urgent situation may develop into a distress situation."

At that time, we spent quite a bit of time on DSC, and I had the impression that DSC was a fairly new system, I got that impression from the fact that several points of the DSC system were not yet in place or did not have clear procedures.

Newt, if I break my leg and you make a pan-pan, it'll be fine. As long as you're talking to them. There doesn't seem to be much difference between the two responses.

I'll be interested in and will read any hard information anyone adds. But I'm not really interested in different colors of pixie dust.

That's what I learned. That's where I started.

Now I don't think there's a lot of difference between the two calls.
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Old 16-11-2014, 21:30   #169
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
I took my GMDSS class in about 2005. It would have been after 2002, and it would have been before 2006. My memory is about 2005.

It was taught by an officer from the United States Coast Guard.

The textbook we used was this: Fletcher, Sue. A Boater's Guide to VHF and GMDSS. Camden, Me.: International Marine/McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Rather than continue our exchange of wit and thinly veiled insult, I've decided to provide my citations for both what I was taught and, therefore, what formed my original opinions. These are intended to be my answer to those who say "go take a class" because, well, I did. Long ago. Here, on this forum, I hoped for more than "go take a class." From those as learned as a physician, an attorney, or others with doctorate level educations, I hoped for hard citations to real information, and a chance to learn more than I've been able to find using my own resources. My mistake.

What follows is from the citation above, and I invite those with questions about these opinions to consult that source. It turns out that during the class, I highlighted several passages about distress traffic, and those highlights are where I formed my initial opinions.

On page 56, in italics, it says (and we had quite a discussion in class, as I recall) "Distress is a situation in which, in the opinion of the master, a vessel, aircraft, vehicle or person is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance."

It goes on to say, in the same paragraph "...A distress alert automatically gives immediate and absolute priority of communication to the vessel in distress and may only be sent with the authority of the master of the vessel."

No diverting every ship in the area. No instant launch of helicopters. No fire walling of throttles. No confiscated boats. No rappelling Coast Guard ninja swimmers. Just immediate and absolute priority of communications. Everyone else shut up and listen, because the Coast Guard and the boat in distress need to talk, to figure out what to do next. That's all.

I see from this thread that there have been changes since my class in international convention, but I've only read one real citation in this thread, and it didn't appear to be binding on anything except making a conscious decision about whether to render aid or not.

As the class I took was taught here in Seattle, to a class of amateur (a word, incidentally, which comes from a root that means "love", and a title of which I am, therefore, quite proud, particularly when compared to someone who sails for mere money) cruisers, a great deal of our discussion hinged around cruising in Puget Sound and the San Juans. We discussed crew overboard specifically, and were taught that crew in the water in Puget Sound is an automatic mayday.

On page 73, in the section titled "Urgency Traffic", the book talks about pan-pan. It says "It is used when there is no imminent danger." The italics are present in the book.

A broken bone has already happened. Like a shot that has already been fired, it is past imminent and is a certainty.

Page 73 goes on to say "There is sometimes a fine line between a situation that is grave and imminent, and one that is urgent but not life threatening. Only the skipper can make the distinction, and it must be remembered that an urgent situation may develop into a distress situation."

At that time, we spent quite a bit of time on DSC, and I had the impression that DSC was a fairly new system, I got that impression from the fact that several points of the DSC system were not yet in place or did not have clear procedures.

Newt, if I break my leg and you make a pan-pan, it'll be fine. As long as you're talking to them. There doesn't seem to be much difference between the two responses.

I'll be interested in and will read any hard information anyone adds. But I'm not really interested in different colors of pixie dust.

That's what I learned. That's where I started.

Now I don't think there's a lot of difference between the two calls.
I'm not sure what your getting all hot under the collar about Jammer. Your response will be read and received a lot more willingly and with the knowledge it imparts if you avoid the cynicism. I'm not even sure who or what's upset you. But, other than the cynicism, a good post.
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Old 16-11-2014, 21:46   #170
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

> We discussed crew overboard specifically, and were taught that crew in the water in Puget Sound is an automatic mayday.

Whereas in Fairfax Harbour and anywhere inside the reefs for 10NM or so up and down the coast here, it's just a refreshing dip.

I've been known to jump overboard in the harbour just to test students on MOB drills during a "learn to sail" course.
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Old 16-11-2014, 23:12   #171
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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If I fall down the companionway, break my leg and the skipper won't call a mayday in, well, I have my own handheld.
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It was taught by an officer from the United States Coast Guard.
.........
Rather than continue our exchange of wit and thinly veiled insult, I've decided to provide my citations for both what I was taught and, therefore, what formed my original opinions.
It goes on to say, in the same paragraph "...A distress alert automatically gives immediate and absolute priority of communication to the vessel in distress and may only be sent with the authority of the master of the vessel."
Jammer you seem to have forgotten some of your lessons very quickly .
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Old 16-11-2014, 23:17   #172
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Jammer you seem to have forgotten some of your lessons very quickly .


When you get to my age, you figure you're lucky if you can find the damn book again.
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Old 16-11-2014, 23:20   #173
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Well, I'll take a stab and say that your about to go into St John's which tells me is a church or your in Canada and as Canada is one of the states of the US, then going in your should have the red to starboard not the green.

Buy yourself a beer
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Old 16-11-2014, 23:26   #174
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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When you get to my age, you figure you're lucky if you can find the damn book again.
Then we have to find the right glasses to make sure that it is the right book.

Coops.
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Old 16-11-2014, 23:36   #175
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Having had a number of broken bones, a broken arm, leg or dislocation is plenty of reason to use mayday.
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On page 73, in the section titled "Urgency Traffic", the book talks about pan-pan. It says "It is used when there is no imminent danger." The italics are present in the book.

A broken bone has already happened. Like a shot that has already been fired, it is past imminent and is a certainty.
According to the Australian Maritime College that issues the Marine Radio Operators Handbook, the guidelines for issuing a mayday are "grave and imminent danger":
http://allhandsondeck.com.au/Radio%20Handbook.pdf (page 69)

PAN PAN is for other urgent situations, with medical emergencies given as an example (page 74).

In their VHF Radio Operators Handbook they clearly give the example of a broken leg as falling under the category of PAN PAN, not Mayday (see attachment).

It seems there is a cultural difference regarding the definition of "grave danger" .
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Old 17-11-2014, 00:07   #176
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Now I don't think there's a lot of difference between the two calls.
There is actually a huge difference in the legal responsibilities of any vessel subject to a Merchant Shipping Act receiving the call.

Nigel outlined it well in this post:

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I think the main difference between the Mayday call and a PAN PAN call is the response.
You put out a MAYDAY call, and it is the duty of all vessels who receive that call to go to your assistance.
This is an abstract from the UK's regulations:

Merchant Shipping Act, 1995, Section 93 (as amended by SI no. 1691 – The Merchant Shipping (Distress Message) Regulations 1998) states:

(1) Subject to paragraph (2) below, it shall be the duty of the master of a ship, on receiving at sea a distress alert, to proceed with all speed to the assistance of the persons in distress, informing them or the appropriate SAR services, if possible, that he is doing so......
It is fine if communication is good and the situation can be explained and assessed. If not, you will be diverting vessels and initiating a search that may well last days (as in the recent situation of a trimaran issuing a Mayday in the English channel).

A Mayday is NOT treated the same way as a Pan Pan and it is not to be abused simply because you are in pain and want out.
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Old 17-11-2014, 00:35   #177
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

I'd just like to point out that a broken Leg CAN BE a life threatening injury - and a broken Femur (thigh bone) should be considered as such.
I think this whole thread is a storm in a teacup. Either call will normally get the response you need, if there is a response at all. In many remote areas in the world there is likely not to be. Be careful out there!
If a call is required, the master decides, and only the master. A boat is not a democracy for good reasons.
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Old 17-11-2014, 00:57   #178
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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A Mayday is NOT treated the same way as a Pan Pan and it is not to be abused simply because you are in pain and want out.
"Mayday, mayday, mayday, I'm being held captive by an idiot captain who thinks my broken leg isn't serious enough for a mayday call. I want out. My position is..."



I'm reading the pdf you linked, thank you.

My first impression is that Australia has several requirements that the U.S. simply doesn't.
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Old 17-11-2014, 01:07   #179
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Real Examples:

1/. MAYDAY call.
"I have a crew member with abdominal pain that suddenly eased up but is slipping in and out of consciousness ......."

Response " We are scrambling a helicopter, suspected burst appendix. Go to channel xx, make contact and we will issue further instructions, All other vessels listening be aware, XXXXXXXXXXXXXX are initiating direct action and attention, no need to standby or offer assistance. Thank you all for your response.

2/. PANPAN.
" Im a solo skipper and injured my back. Have wedged myself in the helm and am heading towards XXXXXXXXXXX approx ETA is 3 hours. I am conscious and in pain and cant move well but am in control of the vessel and believe I can make it.
Discussion: suspected broken ribs and bone bruising...

"Do you need immediate help?"

"ABSOLUTELY NOT! Just making you aware of the situation in case I find I cannot continue, which I believe I can."

Discussion regarding pain killers on board. He prefered not to try to get them due to the pain and aggravation by movement. We changed channels and monitored him. Local Lifeboat met him 8 miles out, made him comfortable and brought his vessel home.

Clear and present need, emergency, help required now is MAYDAY.

Potential issue, monitoring a situation, but clear and present need of aid is NOT REQUIRED is PANPAN.

Mess with the system too much and we will end up paying for help. PLEASE learn the very real differences.
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Old 17-11-2014, 01:32   #180
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Real Examples:

1/. MAYDAY call.
"I have a crew member with abdominal pain that suddenly eased up but is slipping in and out of consciousness ......."

Response " We are scrambling a helicopter, suspected burst appendix. Go to channel xx, make contact and we will issue further instructions, All other vessels listening be aware, XXXXXXXXXXXXXX are initiating direct action and attention, no need to standby or offer assistance. Thank you all for your response.

2/. PANPAN.
" Im a solo skipper and injured my back. Have wedged myself in the helm and am heading towards XXXXXXXXXXX approx ETA is 3 hours. I am conscious and in pain and cant move well but am in control of the vessel and believe I can make it.
Discussion: suspected broken ribs and bone bruising...

"Do you need immediate help?"

"ABSOLUTELY NOT! Just making you aware of the situation in case I find I cannot continue, which I believe I can."

Discussion regarding pain killers on board. He prefered not to try to get them due to the pain and aggravation by movement. We changed channels and monitored him. Local Lifeboat met him 8 miles out, made him comfortable and brought his vessel home.

Clear and present need, emergency, help required now is MAYDAY.

Potential issue, monitoring a situation, but clear and present need of aid is NOT REQUIRED is PANPAN.

Mess with the system too much and we will end up paying for help. PLEASE learn the very real differences.
Weavis, great examples. But the problem is that your first example could just as well been a pan pan. And whilst your second example is definitely a pan pan, it wouldn't take much to turn it into a mayday.
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