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Old 11-07-2016, 03:22 PM   #21
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I used Securite just a few weeks ago when approaching the Rock Pile in SC, a miles long stretch on the ICW of treacherous, narrow water and I appreciate it when it is used by someone coming the other way. Will I be meeting a 50' sport fish or a big tow? There are very few places to pull out of the channel to let someone by. Hearing Securite, Securite, on the VHF cuts through constant chatter and makes one listen up.
I've done the same in the same place. I would hate to get halfway through and have to turn around because of an approaching large boat. I've heard other boaters do it as well and of course the tugs pushing barges usually do it.
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Old 11-07-2016, 03:35 PM   #22
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Other than to inform boaters of entering a narrow pass, I can recall only using it one other time for a dead head in Puget Sound. They are less common than they used to be and can be very hard to spot. It is nice to get a heads up as to the location of one so you can keep an even more careful watch.
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Old 11-07-2016, 03:49 PM   #23
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Traveling South from Norfolk, VA on the AICW, I routinely issue a Securite at " the rock piles", "Hell gate", and "Elliot's cut (Charleston, SC )". For me, these are one lane channels that occasionally have tug and barge traffic. Elliot's cut IMO, would be the worst place to have a meeting as the current reaches over 3 knots, so there's no stopping.

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Old 11-07-2016, 06:06 PM   #24
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I have used it in Telescope Passage and the Rapids north of Desolation. Just remember to switch your radio to low power so the entire Coast doesn't have to listen to you.
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Old 11-07-2016, 07:07 PM   #25
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I hear Securite calls regularly around Cape May due to the active shipping up the Delaware River. Only once did I make a Pan-Pan call. We were the 2nd river rescue unit on a call for a tug and barge with an engine room fire in the middle of the night. The tug crew abandoned the pilothouse due to smoke. The first in unit had extinguished the fire and we were hanging on alongside when I saw a ship turn onto the range dead on with our gaggle NUC in the middle of the channel. Oh crap! The ship answered up and was able to skirt us without incident.
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Old 11-07-2016, 07:42 PM   #26
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I hear Securite calls regularly around Cape May due to the active shipping up the Delaware River. Only once did I make a Pan-Pan call. We were the 2nd river rescue unit on a call for a tug and barge with an engine room fire in the middle of the night. The tug crew abandoned the pilothouse due to smoke. The first in unit had extinguished the fire and we were hanging on alongside when I saw a ship turn onto the range dead on with our gaggle NUC in the middle of the channel. Oh crap! The ship answered up and was able to skirt us without incident.
I would have thought that a Securite call would be appropriate in that situation rather than a Pan-Pan. However, when I think about it, maybe a Pan-Pan would be appropriate because with a ship bearing down on you, the safety of your ship and crew would be in serious jeopardy.
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Old 11-07-2016, 09:59 PM   #27
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LOW power

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I have used it in Telescope Passage and the Rapids north of Desolation. Just remember to switch your radio to low power so the entire Coast doesn't have to listen to you.
EXCELLENT point on the use of low power! This is also applicable to calling the harbor master as you sit in front of the marina. Those of us sitting in front of the other dozens of harbors within your radio range need to call our harbor master too.

We have made security calls numerous times while in dense fog. Receiving the calls from others was useful to determine their respective positions as compared to what we saw on AIS and RADAR. It was also good to hear the other things, such as the calm professionals stating their EXACT position, course, speed, and intentions. Those who sounded anxious and overwhelmed we gave more maneuvering room. I have been in this situation only a few times. With AIS, it is happening less frequently.

We have heard many recreational vessels here in the NW making security calls for the restricted waterways, but have not identified a need to do so ourselves. From my perspective, us little, quick, boats can just stay out of the bigger and or slower (less maneuverable) boats.
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Old 11-08-2016, 05:19 AM   #28
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I would have thought that a Securite call would be appropriate in that situation rather than a Pan-Pan. However, when I think about it, maybe a Pan-Pan would be appropriate because with a ship bearing down on you, the safety of your ship and crew would be in serious jeopardy.
Yes. At that point it was urgent to talk with that ship.
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Old 11-08-2016, 06:36 PM   #29
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I have used Securite a few times in BC - Dodd Narrows and Princess Louisa Inlet immediately come to mind. It is just prudent to put out the call prior to entering rapids that have blind corners. After the call I wait a short time before committing to the rapids. I assume that if there is anyone coming the other way they would respond to my call and I would wait until they have exited. Rapids are interesting enough without the additional excitement of unexpectedly meeting someone going the other way.

Regarding Mayday, i have been told that its use in the USA is a bit different to what our mandatory VHF licensing course materials indicate. In Australia you can only use Mayday if there is life in immediate danger. As soon as a Mayday occurs serious mobilisation of rescue services, both volunteer and taxpayer-funded, occurs. Everyone takes a dim view of someone 'crying wolf' and wasting resources. So its Pan Pan for less urgent situations, some of which might escalate of course if their situation deteriorates.

I was advised by the USCG licensed Captain who provided my boat handling competency certification letter for the insurance company that in the USA Mayday can be used even when there is no immediate threat to life. This surprised me, but I accepted it at the time. Does anyone have any info on normal and permitted usage of Mayday in the USA?

During my recent cruise to the Great Barrier Reef I heard a number of calls for assistance where people needed tows. In two cases they were from 20' boats on the Outer Reef, so 30-40 nm away from land. In both cases their request for help had to be relayed via other boats as their own radio installations did not have adequate range. Some folks just take far too many risks in poorly prepared boats! Their needs were initially assessed by the relevant VTS (commercial ports) but once level of seriousness was established they were then passed onto (in these instances) the closest volunteer organisation (VMR), resulting in tow boats being dispatched. I did not hear either of the initial calls for those boats, but in other cases requiring tows or a battery there was no Pan Pan, just a call into the local VMR station.
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Old 11-08-2016, 07:00 PM   #30
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I am not sure your instructor had it 100% correct.


While you wont necessarily be prosecuted for crying wolf....unless a totally false Mayday...


This is still the accepted use....


DISTRESS SIGNALS: The radiotelephone distress signal

consists of the word MAYDAY spoken three times. This

signal indicates that a marine mobile station is threatened

by GRAVE AND IMMINENT danger and requests immediate

assistance.


My old school teaching was that Mayday was for loss of vessel, not necessarily life...as in don't use Mayday for a medical situation. Even as a USCG rescue coordinator....for that I said oh BS...Mayday for a medical life threatening situation or a missing diver or MOB is OK as moving assets in either case could be time critical.
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Old 11-08-2016, 07:14 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Insequent View Post
Regarding Mayday, i have been told that its use in the USA is a bit different to what our mandatory VHF licensing course materials indicate. In Australia you can only use Mayday if there is life in immediate danger. As soon as a Mayday occurs serious mobilisation of rescue services, both volunteer and taxpayer-funded, occurs. Everyone takes a dim view of someone 'crying wolf' and wasting resources. So its Pan Pan for less urgent situations, some of which might escalate of course if their situation deteriorates.

I was advised by the USCG licensed Captain who provided my boat handling competency certification letter for the insurance company that in the USA Mayday can be used even when there is no immediate threat to life. This surprised me, but I accepted it at the time. Does anyone have any info on normal and permitted usage of Mayday in the USA?
This last summer I heard an instance where a fishing boat issued a Pan-Pan. A few minutes later the boat had sunk and the crew were being pulled out of the water. This was a case where I think the captain was a bit too conservative.

I'm certainly not an expert, but here in the US Mayday is appropriate if life or limb is in immediate danger OR the vessel itself is in immediate peril. Running out of gas or needing a tow wouldn't qualify. Taking on water that can't be controlled, risk of capsize or an on board fire are several things that come to mind that would warrant a Mayday call.
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Old 11-08-2016, 07:25 PM   #32
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I agree completely with psneeld.

MAYDAY-The distress signal MAYDAY is used to
indicate a station is threatened by grave and imminent
danger and requests immediate assistance.

PAN PAN-The urgency signal PAN PAN is used when
the safety of the ship or person is in jeopardy.

SECURITY-The safety signal SECURITY is used for
messages about the safety of navigation or important
weather warnings.


Imminent is the key word and one that is subjective. I've never used Mayday or Pan Pan, but I'm going to err on the side of Mayday and let the CG downgrade if they choose. The key is getting assistance immediately.

While there are those who have used Mayday when it wasn't called for and even hoaxes which carry very substantial penalties, I've heard of a lot of circumstances where a captain didn't want to admit how much trouble they were in or didn't recognize it.

What is immediate? To me, it's if I don't take action now, I might be in big trouble. I can't wait to see if I'm able to get the leak stopped or the engines fired because waiting can lose the boat and lives. One can always call back and say they've got the leak plugged or the engines started and it's a Mayday condition now.

I'm unaware of any differences in different parts of the world.
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