Good thoughts, but...
So "good", you proceed to pick every one apart, except one, on which you accidentally agreed with me!
I don't know about you, but I don't have my registration numbers memorized and by the time I fetch the registration card, my boat will have sunk.
Do you have the protocol for a Mayday memorized? Not likely if you can't remember your registration ID. Maybe a laminated copy of the Mayday protocol with your reg numbers inserted could be stored by your radio. Probably not a bad idea for most skippers, as we will understandably probably leave something out in our haste.
The CG watchstanders do not have access to the state registration databases so it's much quicker to use the boat name.
Do you know for a fact they don't have access? Hard to believe in this high tech age. What do they do when they find a vessel afloat with no one aboard on Sunday? Wait to call DMV on Monday, not knowing if someone WAS aboard? As with a police stop on land, I'd be surprised if they don't know who it's registered to before they board it.
Also, for other boaters in the area that hear the mayday, it's usually easier to see the boat name on the side of the boat than the registration numbers. As the boat name is usually more prominent and larger.
Having come to the aid of several vessels, I can assure you that by the time you can see a boats name, you usually know it's the boat in question. Generally, you would need to be approach from the stern to see the name, and I would assume it's useless to a CG helicopter. Thats probably why the CG usually asks the skipper to wave something bright to Identify the vessel when they, or another boat is in the area. I've done the same. You want to make sure you are heading for the right boat, long before you can read her name. Especially when your top speed is about 6.5 knots (as in my case!)
And if they DID have access to the database, shortening it to just the numerals as you suggested, won't give them all of the information they'd need to search for the boat in the database (or even to determine which state it is registered in). Just the numerals do not indicate which state for example.
Please review my OP, starting with the "Charlie Foxtrot" part.
Yes, well, people's minds aren't usually on what they will sound like on the radio, they're usually more fascinated with their clever boat name to think ahead.
My point exactly!
If you punch in the coordinates in your GPS, it will tell you exactly where it is.
Thanks, I'm well aware of that.
So....if I'm single handing in a blow (when most boats get into serious trouble and the fewest boats are on the water), you want me to turn on the GPS and enter coordinates I just heard on the radio, while sailing my vessel, only to find out the vessel in distress is 5 miles away?
Help others help you (and the CG). The CG have obviously looked at a chart before issuing the securtie. I think they should simply give a land mark (for bay or coastal situations of course) Sometimes they do, sometimes they don't. Should be SOP IMHO.