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Old 06-11-2013
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Re: VHF Protocol

Most of the time, it is not the Coast Guard that renders assistance, but some other mariner. Unless you need a helicopter hoist, a MAYDAY is not specifically a call to the authorities, but a general call to all stations. Almost every weekend, I hear a MAYDAY of one sort or another. Seems like while the USCG is asking over and over if everyone has lifejackets, the GPS location, the cell phone number, etc., etc., some nearby boater has already rendered assistance. Not knocking the Coast Guard, just pointing out that a MAYDAY needs to inform everyone of the required info so anyone in a position to assist is able to.

We keep a formated MAYDAY call "cheat sheet" handy for those unfamilar with the VHF and for helping out those who are familiar in the stress of a MAYDAY situation. Key things to transmit are who you are (boat name), where you are (GPS is fine, but other boats will want to know where your are with respect to local landmarks), and what your problem is.
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