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Commercial Shark Fishery Observer Program

Observer Training

Radio Distress Calls


Procedures for Making a Distress Call



  1. Make sure your communication equipment is on.
  2. Select VHP channel 16 (156.8 MHz) or 2182 KHz on the SSB.
  3. Press microphone button and speak slowly, calmly, and clearly saying "MAYDAY-MAYDAY-MAYDAY".
  4. Continue saying,"This is the F/V (name of boat), (name of boat), (name of boat). Over."
  5. Release the microphone button and listen for an acknowledgement.
  6. If no one answers, repeat Steps 3 and 4.
  7. If there is still no answer, or if the Coast Guard or other vessel responds, say "MAYDAY this is the F/V (name of boat) and give the following information:
    1. The boats position in latitude and longitude coordinates, loran coordinates, or range and bearing from the closest point of land.
    2. Nature of distress.
    3. Number of people onboard.
    4. Nature of any injuries.
    5. Present seaworthiness of your vessel.
    6. Describe your vessel, length, color, hull type, trim, masts, and any other distinguishing features.
    7. State what frequency you will be listening on.
    8. State if you are going to be setting off your EPIRB, end message by saying "This is the F/V (name of boat), over."

If your situation permits, standby the radio to await further communications with the Coast Guard or other vessel. If no answer, repeat. Then try another channel.