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Sailboat Reboot
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
It has been noted on this forum and others that sometimes the US Coast Guard VHF marine safety broadcasts (Pan-Pan, Securite-Securite) can be difficult to understand or happen so quickly that one does not have the opportunity to find pencil and paper to write down the relevant information. If you are like me you are embarrassed to pick up the microphone and ask for a repeat.

The Coast Guard agrees that this is an issue worth study to determine opportunities to improve the communications. The point of contact in the USCG is Mr. Vernon Mann ([email protected]) Short Range Communications Program,Telecommunications Strategic Plans and Policy (CG-6521.) If you have constructive ideas I encourage you to pass them on to him.

As one who has strong positive feels about the USCG I only ask that you keep your comments brief and to the point and to remember the apocryphal Coast Guard Motto: "We have to go out, we don't have to come back."

Fair winds and following seas :)
 

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Wandering Aimlessly
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Good to hear they're looking into this. I can rarely understand them on VHF, mostly because they seem to talk at hyperspeed. I have though, if it seemed important (such as when a nuke boat is underway) asked them to repeat their broadcast.
 

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Sailboat Reboot
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Good to hear they're looking into this. I can rarely understand them on VHF, mostly because they seem to talk at hyperspeed. I have though, if it seemed important (such as when a nuke boat is underway) asked them to repeat their broadcast.
Somehow that phrase "the use of force, including deadly force, is authorized." Comes through every time. :)
 

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Learning the HARD way...
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Found it;

 

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Mermaid Hunter
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If they could stop saying PON PON and pronounce it correctly , ie PAN PAN ( like can with a P ) things might improve !!
I believe it is French, like securité, and is correctly pronounced "pon"
 

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Administrator
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If they could stop saying PON PON and pronounce it correctly , ie PAN PAN ( like can with a P ) things might improve !!

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
You forgot to add the winky "I'm just joking" emoticon, right? :)
 

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I believe it is French, like securité, and is correctly pronounced "pon"
The correct pronunciation is pan.

Like the French for bread. Pan.

There is no doubt whatsoever. Its not pon.

Etymology[edit]
See also: French phrases in international emergencies.
As with mayday (from m'aidez, "help me"), the emergency call pan-pan derives from French. In French, panne (/pɑːn/, "pahn") is "broken": a breakdown or a mechanical failure. In English, it is also sometimes pronounced as /pæn/ ("pan").
Mark
 

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I believe it is French, like securité, and is correctly pronounced "pon"
You are correct. In the era when the radiotelephone "pro-words" were established, French was the international language of navigation. "Pan" (spelled "panne" in French) is designated for: "a mechanical breakdown of any kind," and the pro-word is always spoken in pairs because it is a single syllable (unlike mayday and securité), that may otherwise be misheard in a radio transmission.

Pronouncing the word as "pahn" is an effort to retain its pronunciation in French.

There is a lot of historical context to the use of those words. The priorities for radio communications are: 1) distress, 2) mechanical breakdowns (or other urgency), 3) safety related messages, 4) routine radio traffic. Those priorities go all the way back to the lessons learned from the Titanic disaster, where safety related messages pertaining to icebergs were overridden by routine message traffic that was generating revenue for the Marconi Company.
 
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