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Old 17-11-2014, 18:33   #226
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by Captain Bill View Post
The only thing that I see that this thread show in common is that the Captain/master is the only one authorized to transmit or authorize transmission of a mayday. I guess it just sucks to be the crew if the Captain is the first to go.
Err... no, not really. First benefit for the crew is that someone gets promoted on the spot as "Captain" .

New Captain then gets to decide if the disabled captain (presumably still alive) is worth a MAYDAY or PAN PAN or perhaps no call at all. One possible reason for Captains to be nice to crew
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Old 17-11-2014, 21:34   #227
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by Rustic Charm View Post
I think this is where the problem is. At least in Australia, New Zealand and probably the UK, people will respond just as quick to a Pan Pan as a mayday.
"people" won't. The authorities will.

If I hear a Mayday when I'm on the water, I will head towards it at all speed. If I hear a Pan Pan, I will continue to monitor it, but won't change what I am doing. (Unless I'm on SAR duty in which case, I will treat them both the same).
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Old 17-11-2014, 21:38   #228
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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"people" won't. The authorities will.

If I hear a Mayday when I'm on the water, I will head towards it at all speed. If I hear a Pan Pan, I will continue to monitor it, but won't change what I am doing. (Unless I'm on SAR duty in which case, I will treat them both the same).
Well Stu, If I hear a Mayday on the water, I will stop and work out where they are and if it's practical for me to reach it. There's absolutely no point in me heading 80 miles to the Tamar River where a Maday is occuring if I'm on the East Coast of Flinders. I'd be anything from 10 to 18 hours away.

Now, what a coinicidence, if I hear an urgency call I'll do the same thing.
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Old 18-11-2014, 15:18   #229
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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If I ever venture out of home waters, it seems to me that finding out how the locals do things would be a wise thing to do. Especially since some of the weirdest things are law in other places.
Jammer, your post really struck a chord for me.

We were at anchor at Fitzroy Is. off of Cairns, Qld, Oz. It would have been about 2-1/2 to 3 hrs. to sail back there. I developed rapidly intensifying abdominal pain, worse than any previous pain I've had, and a lump became noticeable by my left femoral artery. Neither of us is a doctor.

Jim got on the VHF, and called the VMR (volunteer Marine rescue) for the area, no pan pan, no mayday, and just asked where the nearest medical facility to the area was. The VMR took over from there, and caused a helicopter to be sent to the island, with 2 paramedics. I was given two injections and we took off for the 10-15 min. flight to the Cairns Base Hospital. Had we been at sea, for us, that would have been a mayday call.

Ann
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Old 18-11-2014, 15:33   #230
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Nope, those days are long gone both ways on the border. All border officials on both sides seem to view everyone with suspicion. The good old days are gone.

And besides which, ifn yer talkin' abut yer southern boys, that would be 'all y'all.

Or at least a school teacher who grew up in Alabama gave us an hour long lecture of the correct grammatical use of y'all versus all y'all.

All I could say was , "How aboot that".
Y'all's common in the south. Heard my lawyer of years use it.

I guess it is what it is. Just a cultural thing like eh. Cross the lakes and it ja.
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Old 18-11-2014, 15:43   #231
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Jammer, your post really struck a chord for me.

We were at anchor at Fitzroy Is. off of Cairns, Qld, Oz. It would have been about 2-1/2 to 3 hrs. to sail back there. I developed rapidly intensifying abdominal pain, worse than any previous pain I've had, and a lump became noticeable by my left femoral artery. Neither of us is a doctor.

Jim got on the VHF, and called the VMR (volunteer Marine rescue) for the area, no pan pan, no mayday, and just asked where the nearest medical facility to the area was. The VMR took over from there, and caused a helicopter to be sent to the island, with 2 paramedics. I was given two injections and we took off for the 10-15 min. flight to the Cairns Base Hospital. Had we been at sea, for us, that would have been a mayday call.

Ann
Ann, I'm not criticising you at all in asking this. You did what I would have done. But being an Aussie and you were in Aussie waters, I'm really curious to know 'why' it would have been a 'mayday'? Especially given Australian recommendations are specifically that a 'mayday' is not used for a medical emergency as previously reported.

Technically, I think you were at sea. You were not on a marina.

What would have happended differently if you called a 'mayday'? I guess that is my main question?
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Old 18-11-2014, 16:13   #232
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Since we're telling abdominal pain stories... About 7 or 8 years ago I was stationed on an Ice Breaker on Lake Superior. We got a call for assistance from RCC, a ship about 4 hours out (we could do about 17 knots on 4 engines if memory serves me) had a crew member on board with acute abdominal pain. Obviously the Captain of a 700 foot ship didn't make a May-Day call for something like this, but made a medical call. The point here is we treated it as a very serious call.
We went out to within about 1/2 mile of the ship and launched the Zodiac (this is January on Lake Superior). It was about 25 below at the time. The Zodiac was dispatched with 4 crew, the Chief Mate and 3 Rescue Specialists (I was one of the Rescue Specialists). We medevac'd the guy onto the zodiac and took him back to the mother ship. The mother ship then made haste back to Port where an ambulance was waiting for the guy who went straight into emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix.
The Coast Guard is not going to think you're a wimp for requesting help in a situation like this, they're going to take it pretty seriously. This was a big ship with lots of trained help on board. They could have made it into port in a reasonable amount of time. But the Professional Captain of the ship considered his crew mans health too important for his ego to get in the way of requesting assistance.
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Old 18-11-2014, 17:42   #233
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Rustic Charm,

I didn't write clearly enough, sorry. Obviously where I was, was coastal. For me, at sea implies being a longish way offshore. More than a 24 hr. run, which is well outside territorial waters. In that case, one would be hoping a naval vessel with a medic or even a surgery would respond if one issued the Mayday and they could get there in time, before the intestine burst from expanding gases and contaminated the whole interior of the abdomen.

The point, I guess, is that even though it was not a pan-pan, or a mayday, the VMR caused it to be treated as if it had been one. The response was, in my opinion quite rapid, and very professional.

What would have happened differently if Jim had called mayday? I don't know. The situation was improved by their being a heliport at the resort on Fitzroy. Had we been out at one of the reefs, the procedures might have been different, like send a fast boat? or the helicopter would have had floats?

Ann
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Old 18-11-2014, 17:54   #234
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

According to what I read, in Australia, it's not simply a recommendation that medical emergencies are not maydays, it's law. At least for Australian registered boats. It's quite specific that nothing related to a person is a mayday-- only vessels.

I imagine that eventually, that will breed out all Australian mariners with heart disease in their family.

Heart attack? Too bad, so sad, buh-bye.
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Old 18-11-2014, 18:04   #235
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

I totally get what Ann is saying. I have a funny feeling Australia cg would treat things much like Canadian coast guard, both being developed common wealth countries with big isolated coast lines. Whether you say May Day on the radio or not, the cg is going to treat it as seriously as a Mayday. So we're debating more of an issue of language then level of distress.

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Old 18-11-2014, 20:37   #236
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
According to what I read, in Australia, it's not simply a recommendation that medical emergencies are not maydays, it's law. At least for Australian registered boats. It's quite specific that nothing related to a person is a mayday-- only vessels.
.
Hammer, I know this is labouring the point, because I'm fairly certain you have been involved in the whole thread, but your insistance that 'nothing related to a person is a mayday -- only vessels' is not what is clearly articulated in the AMC handbooks which is what all of Australia (I think) use for their procedures. And so you don't think I'm reinterpreting, I'll paste the sections exactly as they appear.

Firstly from The Marine Radio VHF Operators Manua.
Th e Dis tress Signal
The distress signal is the word MAYDAY. The transmission of the distress signal indicates that the vessel,
or persons onboard that vessel, are in GRAVE AND IMMINENT D ANGER and require immediate assistance.
I've highlighted, 'vessel or person'.

Second reference is from the Marine Radio Operators Handbook, which I'm including because it enlarges a little more on the first reference.


124 The Distress Signal indicates that the vessel or person using it ias threatened by grave and imminent danger and requests immediate assistance. It does not extend to situations where immediate assistance is sought on behalf of a person, for example, a medical emergency. The urgency signal should be used in these situations.
I've again highlighted 'vessel or person'

So, unless you don't accept these, where are you getting this insistence that nothing about a person is a mayday?
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Old 18-11-2014, 20:41   #237
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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So we're debating more of an issue of language then level of distress.
Well, except in Australia. Then we're talking about law.
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Old 18-11-2014, 20:48   #238
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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I totally get what Ann is saying. I have a funny feeling Australia cg would treat things much like Canadian coast guard, both being developed common wealth countries with big isolated coast lines. Whether you say May Day on the radio or not, the cg is going to treat it as seriously as a Mayday. So we're debating more of an issue of language then level of distress.

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Absolutely yes. Both a Mayday and a Pan Pan will be treated by our authorities with the level of seriousness the issue required.

The only real difference is that 'IN Australia', if you got on the radio and called a 'mayday', anyone in the vicinity is obligated to head towards you, whether they have the ability to help or not. That's why, in Australia, a medical emergency is not 'always' a mayday and a pan pan will 'In Australia' always get the same result.

I think what I'm getting from this thread though, one of the problems with calling an 'urgency' call, (which is Pan Pan) is that many people don't understand it's 'urgent' and that means, people hearing an 'urgency' call, may not take note of it and listen, yet alone see if they can help. This thread I think is showing that.
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Old 18-11-2014, 21:00   #239
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Well, except in Australia. Then we're talking about law.
And why is it 'law'? What do you mean by it being 'law'?

I can't find any Australian act stipulating it's law. The Telecomunications Act 1992 makes it illegal to broadcast a false urgency call, but I can't find anything making the process 'law'.
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Old 18-11-2014, 21:06   #240
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by FamilyVan View Post
I totally get what Ann is saying. I have a funny feeling Australia cg would treat things much like Canadian coast guard, both being developed common wealth countries with big isolated coast lines. Whether you say May Day on the radio or not, the cg is going to treat it as seriously as a Mayday. So we're debating more of an issue of language then level of distress.

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No, the Oz coast guard would not do so... 'cause there ain't no Aussie CG! And it wasn't the CG who responded, but a rescue service which was part of the Queensland gov emergency services. They deal with all sorts of disaster responses, including these sorts of medevacs as well as the frequent floods, bushfires and other catastrophes that Oz is so good at! At the end of the short ride to the hospital (I was allowed to come along) I asked how I should pay for the rescue. They asked if we had travel insurance, and we didn't. They said "OK, it's our shout". How cool! But later I found that our US health insurance covered such expenses, and they were duly compensated. IIRC it was about four thousand AUD...

So, here is a case where no official emergency was declared by either Pan or Mayday, but the responders treated it with the same dispatch as if it had been duly christened a Mayday. Frankly, it never occurred to me to say the magic phrase. I hadn't expected such a quick or professional reaction, and was expecting to have to sail to Cairns, a 3+hour trip, and was only trying to find where the closest facility was. My general idea was that an ambulance could be alerted to meet us at the main marina. I was surely grateful for the helo for it was cllear that Ann was in dire straits. I didn't realize that it was as life-threatening as it was. Had it happened far out to sea I doubt if she would be with us today. Damn scary...

And had it been far out at sea, I don't know what radio procedure I would have followed. I probably would have tried the VHF with an all-ships plea, quite possibly prefixed by Mayday... I dunno, and I would not have worried about the niceties of procedure... nor would I today. If some hard nosed bureaucrat later had me over the coals, so be it. If that had failed, then I would have used the HF radio to a coastal station or to a ham operator. I have acted as relay on medical emergencies for others while at sea. It is cumbersome and slow, but the hams come through in the end. Oh... before someone jumps on the GMDSS bandwagon, remember that this was in Australian waters about a decade ago and the system was (and is) not widely used here. I realize that nowadays a GMDSS call would be a good thing to try.

This attitude may offend sea going professionals, and perhaps it does not adhere to the detailed letter of the law, but then I'm not a professional and my wife's life is more important to me than correct nomenclature.

Cheers,

Jim
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