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The GOSSIP

Number 200 / July 2008

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Published by the Open Canoe Sailing Group

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Not Waving But Drowning (DaveM)

Following the recent Scottish Coastal meet, it seems that many members have bought hand held VHF radios, and I thought it would be useful to publicise the recommended formats of both Distress and Urgency calls.

MAYDAY (distress) calls should be made when there is: "Grave and imminent danger to a person, ship, aircraft or other vehicle requiring immediate assistance".

PAN-PAN (urgency) messages should be sent when you have a serious problem that does not require immediate assistance.

To make a Mayday call, press the transmit button and say:

'MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY'

'THIS IS SAILING CANOE OSPREY, OSPREY, OSPREY'

'MAYDAY OSPREY'

State your Lat. and Long. (or true bearing and distance from a charted feature):

'MY POSITION IS 43 DEGREES 0.7 MINUTES NORTH, 11 DEGREES 59.2 MINUTES EAST'

Describe the problem e.g.

'I AM CAPSIZED AND UNABLE TO RECOVER'

Give number of people on board and other useful information e.g.

'2 PEOPLE IN NEED OF RESCUE' 'OVER'

Notes

(1) Switch the radio to high power mode before transmitting.

(2)Prefix your boat name with "Sailing canoe" so that people know what nature of vessel is in trouble.

(3) If you are using a working channel to talk to other boats in the group (we used Ch 6 in the Luing meet), make sure that you switch to Ch16 before making your distress or urgency call, otherwise it's very unlikely to be heard by the Coastguard or other vessels.

(4) It would be helpful to have some idea of your position, even if sailing in a group and delegating all navigation to group leaders, otherwise you'll be unable to guide rescuers to you. Of course sailing in a group means that someone else in the group could call a Mayday on your behalf.

(5) It is prudent to make radio checks within the group and with the coastguard.

(6) An information card to laminate and keep with your radio is available from the Files section of my web-site.

OCSG Scottish Coastal Expedition (SteveR)

Photos by DaveS

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