Originally Posted by biffer
i've got an award from Ribnet for sound advice, so here goes, DON'T BREAK DOWN.
Easily planned as you say, but the reality is, sh!t happens.
While modern engines, hulls, tubes, etc. are generally very reliable, and nearly foolproof with a bit of maintenance, it's the nearly part that gets you. Doesn't take much of a failure to disable a boat at sea, and one little pin or nut or hose or electronic component is all it takes.
One thing I haven't heard is an "All vessels" radio call. Should reach any boat monitoring channel 16 within your ship-to-ship broadcast range, and will often get a nearby boat to come to assist. It's fairly common in the US among people who know radio protocol; may not be in the Eastern Atlantic.
As a caveat, in the US, we have no requirement to have a VHF course to use a radio; being on a recreational boat is a de facto license. The result is a lot of people who can communicate, with no idea how to.
As to the problem at hand, the big thing is to let *someone* know you're having problems; otherwise you're just a boater out enjoying the water.