Distress Priority on Your VHF Radio

Distress Priority on Your VHF Radio, Distress Priority on Your VHF Radio

MAYDAY (Distress priority), PAN PAN (Urgency priority) and SECURITE (Safety priority) have the same importance and must be given the same attention!

French words. M’aidez (help me), Panne (breakdown), and Sécurité (security/safety)

MAYDAY: Serious threat to life, repeat until someone repeats back to you. Grave and immediate danger, requires immediate assistance, takes uppermost attention on the radio. (Danger already happened.)

PAN PAN: Repeat “PAN PAN” three times instead of “Mayday.” Use this for emergency events such as running out of gas, engine trouble, taking on water slowly, or non-life-threatening medical emergencies. Someone aboard a boat is declaring an urgent situation that is not an immediate threat to either vessel or people on board. Mechanical issue, non-life-threatening emergency. (Problem.)

SECURITE: Sécurité indicates a navigational safety concern such as an impending storm, debris in the water, or broken navigation lights. Sécurité is a safety signal used as a preface to announce a navigation safety message. This may be an approaching storm, a navigation light failure, a submerged log in a harbor entrance or military gunnery practice in the area. (Avoid danger.)


This is (boat name 3 times, call sign/letters 1 time)

Mayday this is (boat name 1 more)

Report your location

Report the nature of your emergency

Report the kind of assistance needed

Report number of people on board

(Activate EPIRB, DSC/MMSI, activate MOB on nav // listen, be the bridge for others, write down coordinates)


This is (boat name)

Report your location

Report the nature of your concern

Report why others need this information


Right-of-Way Hierarchy


Hello all stations, this is (boat name 3 times, call letters 1 time)

Report your location

Report the nature of the problem

Report the kind of assistance needed

Report number of people on board

Mayday, Mayday, Mayday” Who Where What

Mayday Mayday Mayday this is Fin Fin Fin

Mayday Fin // Position // Distress // POB

“This is the sailing vessel _________________.”

“Our position is __’ north/south and __’ west/east.”

“We are ________________.” (Nature of Distress)

“We have ____ people on board.”

“We are ______ foot Manufacturer/Type/Length/Distinct Features.”

“Our course is ___, Our speed is ___, Distance from ___ is __.”

Distress Priority on Your VHF Radio, Distress Priority on Your VHF Radio

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