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Old 10-11-2014, 15:11   #16
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

I will say that my personal experience with panpan, at least some authorities seem to treat it rather differently than mayday. I have called panpan twice. Once the authorities set up a hourly listening watch and would have responded if things got worse. I was fine with that, as my intent with the call was just to alert them to the fact I was having difficulties and answer all their questions, so if it got worse they could come immediately without a lot of radio chatter. The other time the authorities said there were no resources available near my location. I was less happy with that because I had wanted and specifically asked for assistance - I was never sure if they might have found resources if I had declared mayday. In both case I managed to get the problem under control by myself.
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Old 10-11-2014, 15:21   #17
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by estarzinger View Post
I will say that my personal experience with panpan, at least some authorities seem to treat it rather differently than mayday. I have called panpan twice. Once the authorities set up a hourly listening watch and would have responded if things got worse. I was fine with that, as my intent with the call was just to alert them to the fact I was having difficulties and answer all their questions, so if it got worse they could come immediately without a lot of radio chatter. The other time the authorities said there were no resources available near my location. I was less happy with that because I had wanted and specifically asked for assistance - I was never sure if they might have found resources if I had declared mayday. In both case I managed to get the problem under control by myself.
Hi, Evans, I have a 2 part question:

1) In the above calls, were you near the continental US (where there are lots of resources) or pretty well isolated? and

2) Do you think there is much more available in the way of "help" today than 25 yrs. ago?

I've been thinking for a while now, that the very availability of instant "help" trains, encourages less self reliance in boaters, and wonder whether you concur?

And good on ya for solving your problems!

Ann
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Old 10-11-2014, 15:22   #18
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by 44'cruisingcat View Post
Just my view, but in situation 4 I say your priority should be fighting the fire, not calling for help.
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That's the way you die and no one knows about it. Unless it is something real small and almost a no brainer you need to call it in.
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Old 10-11-2014, 16:15   #19
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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A man overboard in any conditions would warrant an immediate SOS if the crew has time. Meh, people fall overboard all the time doing beer can races, no need to even call it in. A pan-pan if recovery looks like it may be difficult. Mayday if the people left on board do not know how to perform a rescue

Kidney stones can lead to projectile vomiting all day and severe dehydration (ask me how I know). How are you going to predict that it will pass even if you are a doctor? How can you even diagnose it without diagnostic tools? Mayday.[B]again, this is real distress and very painful, but it isn't an immediate threat to life. Call in a PanPan, get a medivac if available, certainly head towards shore. But you won't die from it if treatment is delayed so it isn't a mayday. [B]

A boat sinking? Very dangerous situation and you can not paddle a life raft to shore. Many people have died thinking that they could swim to shore. Agreed. If you are stepping into a liferaft call for a mayday. If you are stepping into a 13' powered dinghy easily capable of making it to shore (as given in the question, then PanPan or perhaps a securitie.

Fire on the boat is a serious risk of sever injury or death. Mayday.
again the question posited that it was under control. Therefore it isn't a mayday. absolutely call it in, make the CG aware of the possibility of needing help, but that doesn't require a mayday.

Keep in mind there are a lot of gradients here. From getting the CG on the phone to alert them of a possible problem which doesn't merit anything more, to a full on 'the keel fell off and we are barely holding onto the rudder while in breaking waves' and need an emergency evacuation NOW. not in five minutes, not once the engine temp is up to operating range, NOW.

Mayday's are at the very top end of these. It is telling the USCG that you need them here so fast they should put there lives and equipment at risk to get to you without regard for normal procedures. The normal 10-15 minute preflight check for the helicopter is truncated, the five minute warm up period is cut to the bare bones, and anything that isn't absolutely necessary to get off the ground is ignored. This puts people's lives at risk, but is justified because someone needs help and they need it now.

A PanPan is just below this. Sure they may send a helicopter, but they do normal pre-flight stuff. Engine spool up protocals are followed, they are heading to get you, but they aren't going to put three lives and a couple hundred thousand dollar machine at risk to shave a few minutes off the arrival time. The term is "all deliberate speed" meaning they are coming as fast as is prudent under the circumstances, where a mayday is screw the prudence were coming as fast as possible.
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Old 10-11-2014, 16:24   #20
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by Ann T. Cate View Post
Hi, Evans, I have a 2 part question:

1) In the above calls, were you near the continental US (where there are lots of resources) or pretty well isolated? and

Neither was in US waters. Both were in relatively remote destinations, but there were certainly designated rescue authorities and potential assets both places.

I have never heard a panpan in US waters, but I am guessing that they would send one to TowboatUS. I believe by law (I probably don't have this technically fully correct) the USCG is only supposed to respond to immediate life threatening situations and send anything else to the commercial services (if available).


2) Do you think there is much more available in the way of "help" today than 25 yrs. ago?

The biggest change vs 25 years ago is the easy ability to call for help. Whether there are more SAR assets, either on an absolute basis or per boater, I don't know. I suspect there are in the US because of our continued military asset buildup (note the rebel heart rescue which was conducted by and viewed as a training ex for military assets). But again, 25 years ago, you were much less likely to be able to easily organize a ship to pick you up, whereas today it is dead easy.
......
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Old 10-11-2014, 16:34   #21
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Quote: Meh, people fall overboard all the time doing beer can races, no need to even call it in. A pan-pan if recovery looks like it may be difficult. Mayday if the people left on board do not know how to perform a rescue

You're in New Orleans. Up here in Puget Sound while there are many successful man overboard recoveries, there are also many man overboards that have resulted in death by hypothermia.
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Old 10-11-2014, 20:47   #22
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

The Code of Federal Regulations lists situations where you should call in a Mayday, like all your generators are flooded, the water's coming in faster than the pumps can handle it and so on. I can't quote the specific CFR section now. It was cited in the USCG report on the sinking of the Replica of the HMS Bounty, noting that the Captain didn't call the Mayday in when he should have, on several counts, so that he made the abandonment much more hazardous than it should have been.
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Old 11-11-2014, 01:51   #23
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Up here in Puget Sound while there are many successful man overboard recoveries, there are also many man overboards that have resulted in death by hypothermia.
Up here in Puget Sound, I was taught (by U.S. Sailing, through Windworks, in Seattle) that crew in the water in Puget Sound is an automatic mayday.

The reasoning is that you give them your position in your mayday, as you start your recovery. Then the Coast Guard starts down their checklist, with your position in hand, while hopefully you make your recovery.

If you make your recovery, great. You tell the Coast Guard that you have your guy back on board, and then if you need information about hypothermia or any other injury, you're talking to them, and you can ask them.

If something else happens, if, for instance, you can't get the guy back aboard, if something happens to the boat, or, in the very worst case, you lose track of the guy, or he goes under and you lose track of him, the Coast Guard is that much closer to launching.

In a two knot current, it's an interesting exercise (and was a test question in my last class) to work out how far the guy will drift in five short minutes. So, for that reason, the target for completing the recovery is four minutes. Don't miss the first pass.

What you don't want to happen is to come around, miss, come back around, lose track of the guy and then make a mayday call.

If he sinks, you lose track of him.

I don't suppose it really matters if you make a mayday call or a pan-pan call, as long as you're already talking to the Coast Guard if something goes wrong with your recovery.

On a side note, every weekend I hear mayday calls for fairly ridiculous reasons, the most common one being "the engine won't start and we're drifting towards the shore!" The next most common is grounding. Neither of those are really maydays, unless someone got hurt during the grounding.

I don't know if there's a penalty for an unwarranted mayday call, I suspect not, because they wouldn't want to discourage folks from making mayday calls, but I don't know.

I think I'd err on the side of caution, and with U.S. Sailing, and make a mayday call with a gps position (they ask if your position is off a gps) as soon as I realized someone was in the water.

I've witnessed two crew going into the water, both in races, both caused by mistakes with spinakers. Both crew were recovered by other boats in the race, and they both were recovered so fast no one could have made a call at all.

I think it would go very differently if it weren't a race.

And finally, the word "absolutely" has no place in a discussion about when to make a mayday call.
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Old 11-11-2014, 09:28   #24
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pirate re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

From Wiki-pedia
Pan-pan - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This may answer the question.
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Old 11-11-2014, 11:09   #25
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Not when you run out of fuel. I know a guy that did that several times and then got POed when the CG stopped being a tow boat service.
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Old 11-11-2014, 15:26   #26
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

I haven't read all the thread cos I am a bit tired...

I think Mayday has changed in its use over the years. It used to be if the ship was in grave danger. However a man overboard would not constitute a Mayday. 50 years ago someone going overboard their chances of being recovered were extremely slim.

The more modern approach is that lives are worth more than boats and ships. If someone went overboard from my boat and they were not instantly recovered I would be yelling Mayday and firing the EPIRB. The chance, nowadays, of a close by ship or helicopter with infra red scanners is high.

Same too if a crew has a dicky ticker. He could be medivaced out with a high chance of survival.

In the case of a fire that is not immediately contained I would do a Mayday. Fires on boats can quickly overcome crew because of the toxins. I fought a fire a few months ago and, by jingo by crikey, the saloon was a death trap even though the smoke wasnt too bad. The owner, drunk, finaly arrived and tried to go below. I have no doubt he would be dead.

Loss of steerage but otherwise seaworthy boat is a Pan-Pan unless the boat is heading for the flower pots along the coast.

"Dismasted, but still floating and not in mediate jeopardy but you want to be rescued and leave the boat." Look, its modern times. A good skipper could save the boat, but he must consider the crew, and if theres insurance to cover it... Is there a storm still affecting it? Is there a storm brewing? Is gross sleep deprivation and seasickness involved? This, I guess is a ponderable. Who cares? Just hit the button. (In the case of just me on board I would like to think I would stick it out... so if I hit mayday when solo the chips must really be down).

Perhaps, as a generality, if you as skipper feel its prudent to do a Mayday then DO IT!

Remember you can always CANCEL a Mayday.


Who really gives a rats bum that some rescue service blows a bit of fuel coming to a situation that you genuinely thought necessitated a Mayday?
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Old 11-11-2014, 20:06   #27
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Perhaps, as a generality, if you as skipper feel its prudent to do a Mayday then DO IT!
There it is.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Remember you can always CANCEL a Mayday.
Yup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
Who really gives a rats bum that some rescue service blows a bit of fuel coming to a situation that you genuinely thought necessitated a Mayday?
Not me.

Particularly since the very first thing the Coast Guard will do after establishing contact is start down their checklist of questions to decide precisely how excited they need to get.
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Old 11-11-2014, 20:59   #28
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Jammer Six,

I don't quite know how to respond, I believe you really men that, which is really unfortunate.

It's attitudes like that which degrade the level of service provided and make things worse for all of us who at sometime need the services.

There is nothing, or should be nothing capricious in calling Mayday.

It is a last resort. Other means should be used first. It is really a panic call.

Make a real attempt to TALK to the USCG, assess the situation, and if necessary DECLARE a Mayday. I do make that distinction, declairing a Mayday can be done over a phone call. CALLING Mayday implies making a broadcast to any and all who can hear. Only a fool would let the situation degrade that far without alerting authorities if they had the opportunity to do so earlier.

Go back and read Evans experiences and how he handled the situation as an example in professional behviour. I have done something similar, just called the CG so they knew where I was and that I was ok, if delayed and out of touch with those that expected me.

My Wife once reported me missing because she misunderstood my last communication. I now carry an Iridium just to avoid that situation.

I ask you reconsider your comments from the view of the responder.
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Old 11-11-2014, 22:08   #29
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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I ask you reconsider your comments from the view of the responder.
Declined. I learned my point of view from the responder, the Coast Guard.

The Coast Guard actively discourages trying to substitute a cell phone for a VHF, or a phone call for a radio call.

I think only a fool thinks he can predict when a mayday will occur.

Since we both think the other is a fool, why don't we let the rest of the folks here discuss mayday calls?
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Old 11-11-2014, 22:16   #30
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re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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That's the way you die and no one knows about it. Unless it is something real small and almost a no brainer you need to call it in.
Yup.... on big ships the thing to do when coming across a fire was/is 1/shut the door .ie exclude oxygen, 2/ raise the alarm, 3/ fight the fire.
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