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Old 21 September 2012, 23:25   #41
Country: UK - Scotland
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Make: Humber Destroyer
Length: 5m +
Engine: Honda BF 90 D
MMSI: 235035994
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Originally Posted by ShinyShoe View Post
Is that 96% are not in any form of trouble or 96% send a Distress Alert when they should have sent an urgency?

So are you advocating it for routine type traffic or just distress?

I think thats one of the issues... people think you will because you seem happy to take them. You ask lots of questions about number of people type of vessel etc. So lets say I file a plan with you. My shore contact calls in to say I haven't called home to say I'm safe - what links that to my passage plan I called you with? My shore contact could be my parents 300 miles away, with zero boating knowledge. They'd know I had a "speedboat" that its grey and has an outboard engine. They'd know its name coz I've told them and you'd find a CG66 for it. I've told them I'm going from Sea Houses to the Farnes with a couple of friends, but if its too windy we'll go to Holy Island... If you could link to my call you'd know I only have 2 POB (1 of my friends cancelled last minute) and I definately was headed to the Farnes (you might even know which island!), and you'd know I was 45 minutes late leaving but I haven't told my parents that. Would I have been better calling my parents than calling the CG at all?
Well, when I worked in the Ops Room in Oban CG, I could find every recent message from any boat I knew the name of in an instant (going back several days if necessary). The system told me if you were in CG66, so we had a description of your boat and your latest TR in seconds so we would know you were 45 minutes late leaving... that was twelve years ago using the CG ancient and clunky ADAS system. Since then software is much improved, though I don't know if its functionality has.

If you're reported overdue, the first thing we would have done was to broadcast to all stations in the relevant area asking for information (a radio search). That usually found the 'missing' vessel. We'd perhaps call CG team members to keep a look out or maybe visit possible anchorages to have a look for you.

So, yes. You are better calling the CG.

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Old 22 September 2012, 02:40   #42
Join Date: Mar 2012
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Shine shoes to answer your questions in order 96% of the DSC distress calls received are from vessels not in any trouble other than finger trouble. As for sending distress when it "should be" a pan/ urgency that is for the master/ skipper of the vessel to decide, not anyone else. If you feel it justifies distress then that's what you use. Likewise if you have simply run out of fuel or are aground but happy to sit there who says it MUST be a pan.

Yes I am advocating using DSC for alerting for routine calls BUT only if you feel comfortable in doing so. The Coastguard put out a message last summer advising people to use it for all calls. My advice personally is use it if you feel comfortable doing so. You would still talk to us on a working frequency once we respond but it gets our attention much better when we are busy. But please make sure you select a routine call and just to the station you wants MMSI number.

As said when we log the details they are an addition to the CG66 details. We can search our log on individual words. So if we knew you were a grey speed boat we could search that. During the initial action after your shore contact calls we would send a request for information to all local ports, harbours and marinas as well as to the other coastguard stations to check for information. So if your plan had changed from the information your shore contact had but you had told us we would very quickly have that.

I hope that helps and as always is my personal experience.

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Old 22 September 2012, 19:17   #43
Country: UK - England
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Thanks al_typeR

Jesus there are a lot of stupid people out there who can send a distress alert when its not a distress of any kind! I could have seen that its a pain to send a Urgency when you have to wade through the menus and holding down the red button will make a call which makes people pay attention and then is followed by a voice call that makes it clear you are not in immediate danger by voicing as PanPan. But I'm stunned that so many people can accidentally send a distress message!

I don't know why I'm stunned these are the same people who seem surprised they have no fuel or that tides go out!
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Old 23 September 2012, 09:01   #44
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Originally Posted by al_typeR View Post
Shine shoes to answer your questions in order 96% of the DSC distress calls received are from vessels not in any trouble other than finger trouble.
Is there published data supporting this or is that just 'gut feel'? Does the MCA have a policy of following up on these calls (or inviting Ofcom to)? Are the numbers consistently high or was this a peak when people rush out to but DSC for the first time?

It is virtually impossible for someone to accidentally send a DSC Distress call without trying. If you've done no training, never opened the manual and never read a magazine article on DSC then I guess you might wonder what the red button does - but are there really that many people who have NO idea how a basic piece of equipment works?

To be clear to accidentally send a DSC Distress Alert you need to:

- lift or slide a red cover specifically designed to protect the button from accidental finger fumbles / bumps etc.
- hold down the button underneath for at least 3 seconds. Its not something you can do without trying. Its not something you could realistically do during a safety briefing.
- most (all?) radios seem to have audible and visual alerts during this process.
- most (all?) radios seem to either need an even longer press, or a second press of the button to send an undesignated distress - otherwise you are still on the screen selecting the type.

Will a message be sent if it has no MMSI number in it? If not then it becomes even less believable that someone managed to get an MMSI programmed in and failed to follow what would happen if they did the steps above.
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Old 23 September 2012, 09:32   #45
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I recall when DSC first appeared that a couple of Royal Navy officers were disciplined for playing DSC roulette. They kept their finger on the distress button for as long as possible with the countdown running & released it at the last moment before the message was sent, one or two got their timing wrong

Rule#2: Never argue with an idiot. He'll drag you down to his level & then beat you with experience.
Rule#3: Tha' can't educate pork.
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