Originally Posted by SeaSkills
Ok, let's start with where I agree with you. The most important thing is to summon help by any means possible. I'm pretty well with you on that one
Now, where do I have some issues:
1/ Pan Pan unless on fire or sinking. If you have a serious illness or injury, for example - make that a Mayday too, please. If it's me that's seriously ill or hurt, I DEFINITELY want it to be a Mayday!
2/ MMSI is nice to add. Yes, fair point - but you need to consider the people taking your call too. If you've sent a DSC alert (ie you've pressed the red button), what will appear on screen is your MMSI. If you then use your callsign or your boat name to identify yourself and don't include your MMSI, you open the possibility of confusion, Making it clear that there is one distress call and not two increases your chances of success. If your country hasn't caught up with digital technology yet, fair enough. Where it is used, it's best to use it properly
3/MMSI could be confused with Lat and Long. I'd argue that is unlikely - but my stronger argument would be not to use Lat and Long anyway. Position as bearing and distance from something you can see is usually a better option. As you say though, position is more important than MMSI, no question about that
Right, having now been in touch with several authorities over and above the RYA I can say the following.
The original "proposal" was put forward at the World Radio Communications Conference in 2007 and was ratified by the ITU in 2010. It has taken sometime to filter down through the system but RYA VHF Assessors were advised of the change early 2011.
The wording is as follows. Do please note that there are two basic parts to a Mayday - the Distess call and the Distress message - this has always been the case.
32.13C § 9A 1) The distress call sent on the frequency 156.8 MHz (VHF channel 16) shall be given in the following form:
– the distress signal MAYDAY, spoken three times;
– the words THIS IS;
– the name of the vessel in distress, spoken three times;
– the call sign or other identification;
– the MMSI (if the initial alert has been sent by DSC). (WRC-07)
32.13D 2) The distress message which follows the distress call should be given in the following form:
– the distress signal MAYDAY;
– the name of the vessel in distress;
– the call sign or other identification;
– the MMSI (if the initial alert has been sent by DSC);
– the position, given as the latitude and longitude, or if the latitude and longitude are not known or if time is insufficient, in relation to a known geographical location;
– the nature of the distress;
– the kind of assistance required;
– any other useful information. (WRC-07)
Also note that the MMSI is only sent when the initial alert has been sent using the DSC function - the Red Button! So if you don't have a DSC set then you can't send it by DSC and therefore no MMSI required - common sense! But even if you have a fixed non DSC radio you should send your call sign.
Position does not have to be in Lat and Long, and I tend to suggest that a position other than lat and long - either bearing from a fixed point or just a simple statement like "I am in Osbourne Bay" is preferable - mainly because somebody close by may not know where you are in relation to where they are by looking at the GPS position
In fact, when I did my Yachtmaster exam - a few years ago now - I was asked by the examiner, a coastguard officer, to make a mock mayday call. I used as my position my location in relation to a point on the shore - he almost went apoplectic with delight and got very excited telling the other candidates on-board that that was how to do it!
I "suggest" to people on my courses that unless of course you are mid channel with no reference point then a location by name is better than a lat and long. If you have sent the alert using DSC and the set is connected to a GPS you lat and long will go anyway and the coast guard can work on that, meanwhile somebody just around "the corner" knows exactly where you are.
At the end of the day it will be commons sense (hopefully) that will come into play. There are two ways to use the card - as in fact there are to use a lamp post, the sober man will use it for illumination, the drunk for support - actually the card is better than a lamp post - it can be used in both ways!
It does not worry me if you use my suggested card or not, but even if it is just a bit of tape with call sign and MMSI number stuck next to the radio, it will at least help. I also suggest that completing a CG 66 is not a bad idea either. MCA - CG66
For those with low esteem of the CG, again this is not the MCA enforcing this, it is an International directive. In terms of having to do it right or not get help is of course nonsense, but surly for the time it takes to have something prepared is better than having nothing when the **** hits the fan! What else have you got to do on dark winter, blowy cold days?