Originally Posted by seaduced8104
The first thing is to put out a mayday. This may be your only chance to get a message out. There is immediate danger to life and/or property so the mayday is appropiate. At this point the mayday should be informational and include position speed and direction of travel. State your intentions (check for leaks, etc) and let someone know when your next contact will be. Don't be late getting back to your contact - they will be sending help if they do not hear from you. i don't think it matters if there is a gale, 300 miles out, or 10 miles out - the danger is aparant and real so the mayday is the way to go.
Part of me agrees, part doesn't and favors the immediate Pan-Pan. suppose it's your sink drain hose leaking, you shut off the seacock, problem solved? The Coast Guard may have already put a helio in the air. I know, better safe than sorry, but seems like you're pulling the trigger on the biggest gun before making your prelim assessment about the boat. You could do the Pan Pan, tell them to give you 5 minutes (?) to check it out, and if you don't call back then, please treat it as a mayday (they will anyway).
That's not to say I'd be all that calm if it happened to me....
(Full disclosure here--I'm ex-USCGR, so I tend to think a lot about the rescuers in these situations)