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Old 15-11-2014, 21:16   #121
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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.
(2) The master of the ship need not so proceed if, having regard to the IAMSAR Manual –
(a) the ship is unable to do so;
(b) in the special circumstances of the case, he considers it unreasonable or unnecessary to do so; or
(c) he is released from the duty pursuant to regulations in paragraphs (5) and (6) below.
(3) Where the master of a ship has received a distress alert at sea but does not proceed to the assistance of the persons in
distress he shall –
(a) record in the ship’s log book the reason for not so proceeding; and
(b) if the master has responded to the distress alert by informing the appropriate SAR services that he is proceeding to the
assistance of persons in distress, inform those SAR services as soon as possible of his decision not to proceed.
(4) Where the master of any ship in distress has, or the SAR services have, requisitioned any ship that has answered a distress
alert, it shall be the duty of the master of the requisitioned ship to comply with the requisition by continuing to proceed
with all speed to the assistance of the persons in distress.


So, you put out a MAYDAY for a broken leg and some VLCC rocks up alongside, they most likely will not be of much use to you.'

Put out a PAN PAN and most likely the coastguard wont go into full out overdrive, but will attempt to establish the nature of the problem, and then look for the best solution, maybe send out a lifeboat, or check if a warship is in the vicinity, someone who can best assist.

This is from the Annual Summary of Notice to Mariners (excellent advice on radio procedure is included)

Urgency messages are preceded by the urgency signal “PAN PAN” and the identification of the transmitting station,
repeated three times. The urgency signal “PAN PAN” indicates that a very important message is to follow
concerning the safety of a vessel, aircraft or other vehicle, or the safety of a person.

Medical Advice
(i) Many coast stations around the world provide a medical advice service.
(ii) Medical advice is classified as an urgent communication; the URGENCY category should therefore be used for a
DSC announcement, and the RT urgency signal “PAN PAN” (repeated three times) should be used to compose the
call if using RT to make the announcement.
(iii) Requests for medical advice should be addressed to the nearest coast station using the published preamble shown
in the ITU List of Radio determination and Special Service Stations.

If it was me, and I needed urgent medical assistance, it would be a PAN PAN call, if no response, I would consider a Mayday call, but would certainly make the urgency call first.
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Old 15-11-2014, 21:37   #122
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Thankfully I have never had to use either of the distress calls, but I have eavesdropped on quite a few, and of both Mayday and Pan varieties. My observation is that once contact is established, the coast station starts asking questions (often too damn many) in order to establish IN THEIR MINDS what sort of response is best suited to the actual situation. Their response will not be determined by the specific call that is made, but by the details that emerge from conversation with the caller. As it happens, none of the calls that I have heard had a response from other ships at sea, and I address my further remarks towards communications with land based assets.

So,to me, this means that it really does not matter which one you use, for either of them will create a response suited to the situation and the assets available. And to agonize about which term to use when you are in distress is silly. The sooner that you use one or the other, the better your chances are, and the outcome will not be determined by your choice of words.

Finally, it is not useful to compare the assets available from the USCG and the VMRs of Australia. They are simply not in the same league. The VMRs are run by generous and well meaning individuals who give up lots of their time and energy to the cause, but very few of them are helicopter pilots and only some are even good small boat skippers. They don't have the staffing or the budget to attempt the sort of rescue that Yanks expect (and often get) from the CG. In some Australian areas the Water Police serve as SAR responders, and they sometimes have better equipment and training that the volunteers, but they are few and far between. It's just a different world out here...

As others have said, I have never heard of any retribution for the use of Mayday when a Pan call was better indicated. The euphoria of a successful rescue overcomes any bureaucratic niggling, and the sorrow of a failure even more so.

Cheers,

Jim
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Old 15-11-2014, 21:50   #123
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
If I fall down the companionway, break my leg and the skipper won't call a mayday in, well.....
....just break his nose, that will sort out his sense of urgency....
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Old 15-11-2014, 21:55   #124
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

And I'd like some of that pixie dust for my ships medicine kit!
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Old 15-11-2014, 21:56   #125
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
....just break his nose, that will sort out his sense of urgency....
If he can get up and snot him, it's not an emergency is it?

Coops.
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Old 15-11-2014, 23:44   #126
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by MarkJ View Post
These days Pan Pan is used for regular shipping warnings, for example a bouy thats moved in the last storm, or when the Coast Guard is looking for somone an want all sips to keep a look out. .

.
Sorry Mark, not in the parts of europe I knw. Securitie warnings are used for shipping warnings and floating items in the waters 8large logs etc).

When something is upped to Pan-pan - it is serious. Yes, if the coast guard is searching for a boat - they will call pan-pan. Of course normally the coast guard wouldn't be searching for a boat unless something was seriously wrong - so the fact that they are searching is an indication f the seriousness of the situation.

I've never heard a pan-pan for a buoy that has moved during a storm (securitie yes).

I heard a pan-pan in the Med a few years ago when they called "all ships", to keep an eye out for a reported refugee vessels that was severely overloaded and sinking (spooted from a private aricraft).

As I noted before - Most sailors would benefit from a radio course and certainly one GMDSS.
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Old 16-11-2014, 01:48   #127
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

What benefit is there that you keep pushing?

That we might come to agree with you? That we would suddenly know how to make a mayday call? A pan-pan call?

We already know how to make the calls and how to operate the equipment.

The "correct" format (I use quotes because if you pick up the mic, turn the channel to 16, and shout "mayday, mayday, mayday", you'll get a response in Puget Sound) is laid out in any number of books about VHF, and taught in Basic Keelboat for U.S. Sailing.

What we're discussing here is when to use which call, and the conclusion I'm drawing is that it doesn't matter.

Now, what benefit is there to these courses you speak of, where are they available, and what, specifically, do you think we will learn that will change our opinions about this matter?

If there is material, law, for instance, that would influence this discussion, why don't you cite it instead of hinting mysteriously about it?

Information is king. Courses are one of many ways to disseminate it, and this forum is another. Why don't you just step up and tell us what this information you want us to hear is all about?

This thread has changed my mind about when to use mayday-- hearing other viewpoints has made me think about it in the light of several comments here, I've realize what foolishness it is to avoid using it, and I'm a lot more likely to do use mayday rather than pan-pan.
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Old 16-11-2014, 02:44   #128
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
What benefit is there that you keep pushing?

The benefit is that sailors will learn which call to use and not unnecessarily set every ship within hailing distance in motion to come to the aid of someone who, in reality, only needs medical advice
That we might come to agree with you? That we would suddenly know how to make a mayday call? A pan-pan call?Unfortunately a lot of sailors do NOT know how to make either call. Nor du they know what channels to use and when.

We already know how to make the calls and how to operate the equipment.You may (I don't know) , but many I hear on the air certainly do not

The "correct" format (I use quotes because if you pick up the mic, turn the channel to 16, and shout "mayday, mayday, mayday", you'll get a response in Puget Sound) is laid out in any number of books about VHF, and taught in Basic Keelboat for U.S. Sailing.Using the "correct format" certainly will help to speed and ease communication

What we're discussing here is when to use which call, and the conclusion I'm drawing is that it doesn't matter.Please read post 121 from Nigel1 - unfortunately you are wrong in your conclusion

Now, what benefit is there to these courses you speak of, where are they available, and what, specifically, do you think we will learn that will change our opinions about this matter?I have no idea where they aer available in your country. In Denmark I can easily give you this answer. I believe that most boaters, if they go through the learning process will not have the same opinion you have. They will learn what GMDSS is all about , how to use the system and how to use it correctly.

If there is material, law, for instance, that would influence this discussion, why don't you cite it instead of hinting mysteriously about it?In many countries (mine f.eks.) you need to take a test to get a VHF license. That is the law - I believe that is not the case in the US, although I may be wrong herein. I've not "hinted" at any law that applies worldwide - for pleasure boaters, it is different for professional mariners

Information is king. Courses are one of many ways to disseminate it, and this forum is another. Why don't you just step up and tell us what this information you want us to hear is all about?If you read further back I believe you will find I've cited various saources - however Nigel1 was quite specific in his post - I see no reason to expand upon it.

This thread has changed my mind about when to use mayday-- hearing other viewpoints has made me think about it in the light of several comments here, I've realize what foolishness it is to avoid using it, and I'm a lot more likely to do use mayday rather than pan-pan.
That is unfortunate. Each has its usage and as in anything, using the correct tool generally gets better results.
I find it disturbing that apparently many here are not interested in learning how to use the GMDSS system correctly.
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Old 16-11-2014, 02:56   #129
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer Six View Post
...............

We already know how to make the calls and how to operate the equipment.

The "correct" format (I use quotes because if you pick up the mic, turn the channel to 16, and shout "mayday, mayday, mayday", you'll get a response in Puget Sound) is laid out in any number of books about VHF, and taught in Basic Keelboat for U.S. Sailing.

What we're discussing here is when to use which call, and the conclusion I'm drawing is that it doesn't matter.

............ Why don't you just step up and tell us what this information you want us to hear is all about?
................
I believe there has been plenty of evidence already posted in this thread that clearly states that:
MAYDAY = grave and imminent danger - usually considered that loss of life and/or vessel is about to occur very very soon.
PAN PAN = an urgent situation has occurred - usually considered that one may need some assistance resolving it in the future.

As skipper, you get to decide what call to make. Can you distinguish the difference between the two different concepts? If you can, then you will the know the right one to use at the time. Of course you might not want to do the right and proper thing and you can make the MAYDAY call with out further thought - no one will challenge why you made the one call or the other - but from now on, you will know if you did the right and proper call in the circumstances.
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Old 16-11-2014, 03:04   #130
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

It seems to me that this is an international forum but discussing terms which have a slightly different use in practice.

At least in this part of the world (Australia) a 'pan pan' is an urgency calling. It will bring just as much of an urgency response as the case requires. Everyone here stops and listens to the call.

A 'mayday' call, will as someone else pointed out bring a response from all ships and listening vessels in the area.

I'm really not seeing the point in calling a 'mayday' in a medical emergency (unless you are single handed). If a crew man or woman breaks a leg, then calling a mayday over a pan pan, if anything just wastes necessary time in seeking the correct assistance. Unless of course your lucky enough to get a vessel coming your way with morphine. But my point is, you are not increasing the urgency by calling a mayday instead of a pan pan, even in the case of a heart attack.

But, it really doesn't matter in the end. The most important thing is to make the call. There is no offence at least in Australia for using either, unless you are intentionally calling a false emergency.

If there is a medical emergency and too far for radio reception then setting off the epirb is the next best regardless of the immediate danger. Epirb's here are encouraged for legitimate needs for assistance, but it does not need to be immediate imminent danger. Hence their used here for bushwalking as well as sailing and flying and even in our vast out backs.

And I'm specifically stating the situation here in Australia because it seems to be slightly different elswhere.

And a 'pan pan' is not used for weather reports in Australia. It's used for urgency assistance. And to my knowledge there is no 'radio medical assistance'. I'd be very interested to know if there is anything formal set up somewhere else in Australia.
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Old 16-11-2014, 03:24   #131
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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........ And to my knowledge there is no 'radio medical assistance'. I'd be very interested to know if there is anything formal set up somewhere else in Australia.
AFAIK, you are correct these days.
Back in the day when the OTC operated maritime coastal radio stations, they provided a "radio medical assistance" along with Radio Telephone calls and so on. IRC, they had an arrangement with the RFDS (Royal flying Doctor Service) whose doctors were always on call to provide medical advice via their HF network.

These days, the RFDS still provide an medical emergency advice for remote sites and while their preferred method of contact is Satphone, several bases still operate on HF. i believe technically one should apply to ACMA for a outpost licence before operating on their frequencies but I'm not really sure of the details anymore. I pretty sure they don't distinguish between a land mobile station and a maritime mobile station - especially for a medical emergency.

There is more information on their website.
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Old 16-11-2014, 03:43   #132
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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But my point is, you are not increasing the urgency by calling a mayday instead of a pan pan, even in the case of a heart attack.
I think you are imagining a costal sailing situation where the distress call is answered by coast guard station.

In an offshore situation where the closest form of assistance and the only station in radio range (if only VHF equipped) may be other shipping. There are different legal and practical responses to "MAYDAY" and "PAN PAN". Some of these were outlined in post #77
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Old 16-11-2014, 03:47   #133
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pirate Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

Figure I'll chuck in some personal experience here... never called a Mayday but have done a Pan Pan twice.
First was a holed catamaran taking water and no pumps during a blow in the Straits of Gibraltar.. Tarifa Traffic sent out a LB to stand by in case as I wanted to try and get the boat into Barbatte some 7 miles away.
The second was a few days ago off Borkum with a failed engine with rising wind and sea in a dodgey area..
Called Pan Pan and gave my position and reported 2 on board no imminent danger making way under sail however will need assistance to enter port safely.
A LB was sent out to meet use.. Traffic was alerted to the situation and manoeuvred to favour us.. We picked up the tow at the start of the channel into Borkum.
Not saying these were right or wrong.. just what I did in two different situations
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Old 16-11-2014, 03:49   #134
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Originally Posted by noelex 77 View Post
I think you are imagining a costal sailing situation where the distress call is answered by coast guard station.

In an offshore situation where the closest form of assistance and the only station in radio range (if only VHF equipped) may be other shipping. There are different legal and practical responses to "MAYDAY" and "PAN PAN". Some of these were outlined in post #77
Presumably in such a circumstance, a PAN PAN call would have to be addressed to "All Stations" unless of course, one has AIS info to direct the call to a particular vessel.

Unlike a MAYDAY call, PAN PAN calls have to be addressed to the desired receiving station.


BTW, I realise that 98% of us know this so this post is addressed to the other 2%
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Old 16-11-2014, 03:51   #135
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Re: What Justifies a "MAYDAY"?

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Figure I'll chuck in some personal experience here... never called a Mayday but have done a Pan Pan twice.
First was a holed catamaran taking water and no pumps during a blow in the Straits of Gibraltar.. Tarifa Traffic sent out a LB to stand by in case as I wanted to try and get the boat into Barbatte some 7 miles away.
The second was a few days ago off Borkum with a failed engine with rising wind and sea in a dodgey area..
Called Pan Pan and gave my position and reported 3 on board no imminent danger making way under sail however will need assistance to enter port safely.
A LB was sent out to meet use.. Traffic was alerted to the situation and manoeuvred to favour us.. We picked up the tow at the start of the channel into Borkum.
Not saying these were right or wrong.. just what I did in two different situations
FWIW (WIBA), I sez you done right!
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