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Old 11 May 2015, 08:24   #1
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Mayday instructions ?

Has anyone got a concise set of words that I can use to provide simple instructions for using my Radio to call in a Mayday ?

I will then turn it into a sticker for my RIB

Just wondering how others would word it as Id like to keep mine simple and easy to use. Something non boat / radio users could cope with.

I've a Standard Horizon DSC with my MMSI in it, so I don't need to tell them much. Just press the big red button I suppose.

But they may want / need to talk to the Coastguard as I'm going to be in the Med. (I will also translate it into French)

Mmmm, also will the DSC button work in the Med - will the French Coastguard know what's going on ?
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Old 11 May 2015, 08:35   #2
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PDF

Here are more
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Old 11 May 2015, 08:37   #3
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Cheers, that's kind of what I copied out of my radio book, but I also wondered if I should just say "press the RED button" ?

Or perhaps red distress button first, then follow it up with actually talking on the radio ?
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Old 11 May 2015, 08:46   #4
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MIPDANIO MIPDANIO MIPDANIO


Mayday, mayday, mayday
Identification, "This is xxxxx" (repeat 3 times)
Position, "My position is xxxxxx" (I have my plotter set up to always show boat position in Lat, Lon)
Distress, give the nature of your distress, sinking, pirates, medical etc.
Assistance required
Number of pax on board
Information, any other relevant info, e.g. abandoning ship, taking to liferaft etc.
Over
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Old 11 May 2015, 09:11   #5
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Or sit an exam
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Old 11 May 2015, 09:53   #6
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This is how it's done:


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Old 11 May 2015, 10:19   #7
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Originally Posted by Trimix View Post
Cheers, that's kind of what I copied out of my radio book, but I also wondered if I should just say "press the RED button" ?

Or perhaps red distress button first, then follow it up with actually talking on the radio ?
If I recall correctly, the DSC distress button will send an alert on the appropriate frequency (along with MMSI, position if connected, and type of emergency if entered), then switch to a voice channel.

In the US, the initial DSC call goes out on channel 70, then the unit waits for a DSC acknowledgement (while monitoring 16). If no ack comes, it sits on 70. If reply is received, all is good and survivors can talk away; if not, they may need to select 16 to communicate. [Note: this is on my SH radio; YMMV.]

IMO, "Press the red button" should do OK, as, assuming the events unfold as they should, people should be able to hit the button and talk (Note: actual sequence should be spelled out clearly: on mine, it's "Press the red button, then when display says 'DISTRESS', press and hold the red button until the countdown finishes.")

If the call goes unacknowledged, then a separate voice Mayday call should be made on channel 16 (in case there are non-DSC stations within range.)

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Old 11 May 2015, 10:27   #8
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Trimix, have you got your SRC qualification? I had a script supplied with my RYA documents.
How about this from the RYA?
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Old 11 May 2015, 10:57   #9
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That RYA card is great - I may just use that.

I did sit the exam, but wondered what others did in the real world.

I will be the only "trained" person on the RIB, so if I fall out all that's left will be complete novices in a panic. Its all nice and sunny in the Med, so me telling them how to use the Radio will soon be forgotten.

When I googled for examples I got thousands, rather than a condensed bit of advice from RIB users.

Cheers.
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Old 11 May 2015, 11:06   #10
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This one was circulated on here a few years ago -
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 5Star_Mayday.pdf (471.2 KB, 230 views)
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Old 11 May 2015, 11:13   #11
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If you've got somewhere to stick it I'd either buy the RYA one, or print your own with your boat name etc in, laminate it and stick it to the console.
If it's a handheld then get a label printer and print it to the radio.

I stick to the RYA example, it's in that order as you say the most important bits first and least important bits last.

I also make sure that before we leave the shore everyone is aware of how to use the radio to call a mayday, even if it's just "hold the red button", as well as how to start the engine, replace a kill cord and use the throttle/gears.

Its good for them, makes them feel more involved and also good practice in case you become incapacitated.
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Old 11 May 2015, 12:42   #12
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I've also got something very similar to the RYA one with boat details entered. The sheet is laminated & attached to the radio. Just in case I'm not in a position to be doing the talking!
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Old 11 May 2015, 16:26   #13
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I tend to tailor my advice according to who I have onboard. There's always a Mayday card beside the VHF, but that assumes some ability. The basest numpties are told about:
  1. The Big Red Button
  2. How to select Channel 16
  3. How to "work" a PTT mic.
  4. The need to call a Mayday as per the card

I figure the CG will sweat the detail...
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Old 11 May 2015, 16:55   #14
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Would make it easier to just push the button, especially if the users have no clue where you currently at.
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Old 12 May 2015, 01:37   #15
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Would make it easier to just push the button, especially if the users have no clue where you currently at.
But a pushed button with no voice will not get the same initial response as a pushed button followed by even just a voice saying "mayday" or even "help" on 16. CG will acknowledge on 70 and then listen on 16. No voice they will (probably) call you by voice on 16. But that may be by MMSI. They should know boat name from CG66 but my understanding is none of these things are as integrated as we would expect so someone has to go look it up. Even then your crew may not know what to do to reply if they are realising that's what they are to do.

Probably only adds 2 or 3 mins delay. That might matter...
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Old 12 May 2015, 02:01   #16
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But a pushed button with no voice will not get the same initial response as a pushed button followed by even just a voice.
Having some untrained, inexperienced, person trying to describe where they are while having no clue, will not expedite a rescue.
You dont want a conversation, you need assistance.
The signal transmitted gives lat/long
In addition some other radio sets (not CG) will sound an alarm and display the location of the casualty vessel with bearing and distance (at least mine does), which could mean faster assistance.
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Old 12 May 2015, 02:13   #17
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Having some untrained, inexperienced, person trying to describe where they are while having no clue, will not expedite a rescue.
You dont want a conversation, you need assistance.
Technically correct, but falls apart in reality. It's quite important that PAX can maintain some sort of comms. It certainly calms them down but it's also a huge aid to the CG AND the responding SAR teams. Bear in mind that the CG don't actually know where the vessel is, they know what the VHF sent them. I've seen DSC units displaying old data. In any case, by the time SAR reach a "current" position, the vessel will have moved, maybe into worse danger? I've listened to several rescues and in one case, the voice comms were essential to find the vessel. And yes, they were total greenhorn, know-nothing numpties, unable to take a bearing, recognise lights etc., but I don't think the RNLI would have found them if they hadn't got them on the VHF (it was dark and they had no lights/torches/flares )
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Old 12 May 2015, 02:51   #18
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Thanks for the info, very useful. I will certainly use those RYA cards and as you suggest, tailor my advice to the crew on board.

One thing I'm still not sure of is will the French / Italian / Sardinian coastguard act on the DSC in the same way as you describe ?

I've heard many a Mayday while out in the Solent, but nothing in my time in the Med (although that's not a long time).
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Old 12 May 2015, 03:21   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimix View Post
Thanks for the info, very useful. I will certainly use those RYA cards and as you suggest, tailor my advice to the crew on board.

One thing I'm still not sure of is will the French / Italian / Sardinian coastguard act on the DSC in the same way as you describe ?

I've heard many a Mayday while out in the Solent, but nothing in my time in the Med (although that's not a long time).
I don't know what the composition of your crew is, but if you have "regulars" it would be worth putting them through the Short Range course. Thankfully, we have only ever had to use the VHF in distress once in our boating career, & it was the missus who had to do the business, as I was underwater at the time. It was probably only the second or third time in about 30 years of boating that she had used the radio & she performed like a good 'un. She has a Short Range/DSC cert. She didn't resort to the red button, just a normal Mayday call. We were in Normandy & the call was picked up by Solent CG 90 miles away, Solent did all the co-ordination with the French & we had a textbook outcome.
Since that day, every boat I've had has had 2 batteries & a handheld VHF
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Old 12 May 2015, 05:54   #20
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Interesting that although you were in Normandy the British CG sorted your mayday.

Perhaps the French ignored it as it was in English !

I will get my missus to do a lot of the radio work as my French is rubbish.

I will also see if she can find out from French boating forums just what happens to a DSC Mayday call in Corsica - if anything ?.
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