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Old 08-18-2016, 01:28 AM   #1
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DSC distress - stated nature

Greetings... I'm intending to make greater use of the DSC capabilities of my radios and in reviewing distress calls, I notice one can provide a "nature of the distress" like fire or explosion. However, I'm not sure what one would do for a life-threatening medical emergency. The whole purpose of transmitting a "reason" appears to ensure CG rolls the right assets and I don't see the point of declaring it to be any of the reasons carved into the system as it operates now. So... what would you suggest for DSC "nature of distress" for a life-threatening emergency.

Gilhooley
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Old 08-18-2016, 05:41 AM   #2
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Depending on what make/model vhf you have, going that extra step to spell out the type of emergency will take too long. Better to push the button then follow up with a live Mayday call.
That is assuming your VHF is interfaced correctly to a working GPS.
One other thought is that a medical emergency is not a "ship" threatening emergency and probably why its not in the pre-programmed list.
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Old 08-18-2016, 02:24 PM   #3
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I think of pushing the DSC distress button as almost a last resort to use when I cant take the time to call in a mayday - like during a fire or explosion when I have to move NOW. If I could take even a little time, I would always try to call in a mayday first. In that case, you can put words to the situation. If I couldn't get though for some reason and it was a real mayday situation, I would hit the DSC emergency button.

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Old 08-18-2016, 03:07 PM   #4
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I can't recall the list of emergency types, but I almost think that medical emergency was on the list?

I have DSC at my primary helm station. In a mayday situation, I would likely hit the DSC emergency button then follow it up with a Mayday call. My rational is that the DSC would make it to the USCG with my location as a backup for any loss of communication via ch16.

I don't think I would bother with the type of emergency as getting through the menus would take longer.
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Old 08-18-2016, 03:36 PM   #5
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Loss of life, or loss of ship which leads to loss of life... no different... both go to DEFCON 1.

Agreed that I'm not seeking to spell the reason out... but instead to very rapidly pick it off a pre-determined list and then focus on rendering aid. Which is why I'm surprised it's not on the list. Voice is slow when dealing with certain problems and in all cases less reliable... call 911 some time and count how many times you have to rearrange the scenario in the dispatcher's head before the right thing is happening. It's identical logic to the entire rest of the list... there was a valid reason those things made it and it's inconsistent with that logic that life-threatening medical emergency did not.
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Old 08-26-2016, 09:41 AM   #6
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Reply from the CG

Excellent context... DSC alerts will probably get lost in the noise, so go voice if you can. If you need to deal hands on with the emergency asap, firing off the DISTRESS button and touching off the EPIRB will get the right attention.


"Thank you for contacting the USCG Navigation Center. When the "reasons" were developed it was by an international body associated with ships of 300 tons or greater. They have alternative means for communication to deal with medical problems, usually satellite phone. In your case if the person's life is threatened or the medical issue is serious I would send a distress call. It is possible to send urgent priority but that does not get the proper attention if a life is at risk. If you have an EPIRB I would also activate that as well because over 90% of DSC distress alerts are false alerts so sending a second means of communicating a distress validates the DSC distress call. Many folks feel they can use their cell phone but that is a poor way of doing a distress because hopefully your DSC is connected to a GPS so it will send your position. A cell phone does not usually give a correct position nor contact the USCG directly so time is wasted. "
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Old 08-27-2016, 10:51 AM   #7
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I disagree with dsc as last resort. If your in a mayday situation hit the red button. Why?? Your dsc gives your location and your dsc number to the CG which gives them all the information in your registration - name and description of your boat etc. Plus as we all know - anytime someone hits the dsc button everyone in proximity knows there is an emergency in the area.

I had an engine failure last year and the current was dragging us into rocks. I used the red button And after talking to CG a fellow boater dragged us out of the shallows to where we could anchor to wait for a tow.
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Old 08-27-2016, 11:09 AM   #8
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If the nature of your emergency requires the responders to bring along equipment that they may only carry on special request, putting that request out there by way of your DSC will help.

One example I recently became aware of is for the first responders to bring along Hazmat equipment, as was requested of the CCG in the Pender Harbour incident of a few weeks ago.

All of the Fast Response Boats operated locally carry an AED, a large, fairly comprehensive First Aid kit, and a spine board, so most medical emergencies that can be dealt with by their crew are covered.

They also all carry a trash pump and a 100m towline.
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Old 08-27-2016, 04:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kchace View Post
I think of pushing the DSC distress button as almost a last resort to use when I cant take the time to call in a mayday - like during a fire or explosion when I have to move NOW. If I could take even a little time, I would always try to call in a mayday first. In that case, you can put words to the situation. If I couldn't get though for some reason and it was a real mayday situation, I would hit the DSC emergency button.

Ken
Don't forget that the DSC alarm reaches all boater with a DSC radio, even if they aren't currently on channel 16. If you have a major emergency, hit that button and follow up with a voice call. In most areas, another boater is much more likely to be the first available aid, rather than the CG. They can only help if they get your call.
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