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Encyclopedia > Mayday (distress signal)

Mayday is an emergency code word used internationally as a distress signal in voice procedure radio communications. It derives from the French venez m'aider, meaning 'come to my aid'/"come [to] help me."[1] It is used to signal a life-threatening emergency by many groups, such as police forces, pilots, the fire brigade, and transportation organizations. The call is always given three times in a row ("Mayday Mayday Mayday") to prevent mistaking it for some similar-sounding phrase under noisy conditions, and to distinguish an actual mayday call from a message about a mayday call. A Code word may refer any of several concepts: For telecommunications senses, see Code word (telecommunication). ... A distress signal is an internationally recognized means of obtaining help by using a radio, displaying a visual object or making noise from a distance. ... Voice procedure includes various techniques used to clarify, simplify and standardize spoken communications over two-way radios, in use by the military, in civil aviation, police and fire dispatching systems, citizens band radio (CB), etc. ... Here are some examples of French words and phrases used by English speakers. ... For other uses, see Aviator (disambiguation). ... Firefighter with an axe A firefighter, sometimes still called a fireman though women have increasingly joined firefighting units, is a person who is trained and equipped to put out fires, rescue people and in some areas provide emergency medical services. ...

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Mayday calls

A Mayday situation is one in which a vessel, aircraft, vehicle, or person is in grave and imminent danger and requires immediate assistance. Examples of "grave and imminent danger" in which a mayday call would be appropriate include fire, explosion or sinking.


Mayday calls can be made on any frequency, and when a mayday call is made no other radio traffic is permitted except to assist in the emergency. A mayday call may only be made when life or craft is in imminent danger of death or destruction.


'Mayday' calls are made by radio, such as a ship or aircraft's VHF radio. Although a Mayday call will be understood regardless of the radio frequency on which it is broadcast, first-line response organisations, such as the coastguard and air traffic control, monitor designated channels: marine MF on 2182 kHz; marine VHF radio channel 16 (156.8 MHz); and airband frequencies of 121.5 MHz and 243.0 MHz. A Mayday call is roughly equivalent of a morse code SOS, or a telephone call to the emergency services. Very high frequency (VHF) is the radio frequency range from 30 MHz to 300 MHz. ... For the 2002 South Korean film, see The Coast Guard (film). ... For the Canadian musical group, see Air Traffic Control (band). ... Medium frequency (MF) refers to radio frequencies (RF) in the range of 300 kHz to 3000 kHz. ... The radio frequency of 2182 kilohertz (kHz) is the international calling and distress frequency for voice maritime communication (radio telephony) on the marine MF bands. ... Portable VHF radio set Marine VHF radio is installed on all large ships and most motorized small craft. ... A Bendix/King KY197 Airband VHF communication radio mounted above a Cessna ARC RT-359A Transponder (the beige box) in a light airplane instrument panel. ... 1922 Chart of the Morse Code Letters and Numerals Morse code is a method for transmitting telegraphic information, using standardized sequences of short and long elements to represent the letters, numerals, punctuation and special characters of a message. ... For other uses, see SOS (disambiguation). ... Emergency services are services that deal with emergencies and other aspects of Public Safety. ...

A Mayday call might result in the activation of a lifeboat such as this Severn class lifeboat in Poole Harbour, Dorset, England. This is the largest class of UK lifeboat at 17 metres long
A Mayday call might result in the activation of a lifeboat such as this Severn class lifeboat in Poole Harbour, Dorset, England. This is the largest class of UK lifeboat at 17 metres long

When they receive a Mayday call the coastguard may launch lifeboats and helicopters to assist the ship that is in trouble. Other ships that are nearby may divert course to assist the vessel broadcasting the Mayday. Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2756x1972, 967 KB) Severn class lifeboat in Poole Harbour, Dorset, England, the largest class of UK lifeboat at length 17 metres. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Download high-resolution version (2756x1972, 967 KB) Severn class lifeboat in Poole Harbour, Dorset, England, the largest class of UK lifeboat at length 17 metres. ... The Severn class lifeboat is the largest lifeboat used by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), a UK charity dedicated to saving life at sea. ... Poole Harbour is a harbour in Dorset, southern England, with the towns of Poole and Wareham on its shores. ... Dorset (pronounced DOR-sit or [dɔ.sət], and sometimes in the past called Dorsetshire) is a county in the south-west of England, on the English Channel coast. ... For other uses, see England (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Helicopter (disambiguation). ...


Making a hoax Mayday call is a criminal act in many countries because of the danger to the rescuers' lives that a search-and-rescue operation can create, as well as the very high costs of such rescue efforts. For example, making a false distress call in the U.S. is a federal crime carrying sanctions of up to six years imprisonment, and a fine of $250,000[2]. !-- Spelling: UK --> For the TV series of this title, see Search and Rescue (TV series). ...


The coastguard can be contacted in situations that are not emergencies (out of fuel, etc.) by calling 'Coastguard, Coastguard, Coastguard, this is (name of vessel)', on VHF channel 16. In many countries special training and a licence are required to use a mobile radio transmitter legally, although anyone may legally use one to summon help in a real emergency. A coast guard is an organization devoted to saving the lives of shipwrecked mariners or people in danger at sea. ...


The recommended distress call format includes the word MAYDAY repeated three times, followed by the vessel's name or callsign, also repeated three times, then MAYDAY and the name or callsign again. Vital information, including the position, nature of the emergency, assistance required and the number of people on board, should follow. A typical message might be: In broadcasting and radio communication, a callsign or call sign (also call letters) is a unique designation for a transmitting station. ...

"MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, this is NONSUCH, NONSUCH, NONSUCH. MAYDAY, NONSUCH. Position 54 25 North 016 33 West. My boat is on fire and sinking. I require immediate assistance. 4 people on board, are taking a lifeboat. OVER." [3]

If a Mayday call cannot be sent because a radio is not available a variety of other distress signals and calls for help can be used. A Mayday can be sent on behalf of one vessel by another, using a convention called a Mayday Relay (see below). A distress signal is an internationally recognized means of obtaining help by using a radio, displaying a visual object or making noise from a distance. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Distress call. ...


History

The Mayday callsign was originated in 1923 by Frederick Stanley Mockford (1897-1962) [4]. A senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, Mockford was asked to think of a word that would indicate distress and would easily be understood by all pilots and ground staff in an emergency. Since much of the traffic at the time was between Croydon and Le Bourget Airport in Paris, he proposed the word "Mayday" from the French m'aider.[citation needed] The control tower of Croydon Airport in 1939, with the BOAC de Havilland DH 91 Albatross Fortuna alongside Croydon Airport was an airport in South London which straddled the boundary of what are now the London Borough of Croydon and the London Borough of Sutton. ... This article is about the capital of England and the United Kingdom. ... Le Bourget airport (Aéroport du Bourget) is an airport, located in Le Bourget, close to Paris, France, nowadays only used for general aviation (business jets) as well as air shows. ... This article is about the capital of France. ...


The French word "m'aider" translates as "help me".


Other urgent calls

Mayday is one of a number of words used internationally as radio code words to signal important information. Senders of urgency calls are entitled to interrupt messages of lower priority. As with Mayday the use of these terms without proper cause could render the user liable to civil and/or criminal charges. A Code word may refer any of several concepts: For telecommunications senses, see Code word (telecommunication). ...


Each of these urgency calls is usually repeated three times (eg "Pan-pan, Pan-pan, Pan-pan").


Mayday relay

A Mayday relay call is made by one vessel on behalf of a different vessel which is in distress. If a vessel makes a Mayday call and it is not acknowledged by the coastguard after a single repetition and a two-minute wait a vessel receiving the Mayday call should attempt to contact the coastguard on behalf of the Mayday vessel by broadcasting a Mayday Relay on their behalf.
A Mayday Relay call should use the callsign of the transmitting vessel but give the name and position of the Mayday vessel.
Mayday Relay calls can be used to summon help for a vessel which is either too far offshore to contact the coastguard directly or without radio capabilities (though most vessels above a certain size or crew complement are legally required to carry two-way radio equipment, such equipment can potentially be damaged or destroyed).

Pan-pan

Main article: Pan-pan
Pan-pan (from the French: panne - a breakdown) indicates an urgent situation of a lower order than a "grave and imminent threat requiring immediate assistance", such as a mechanical breakdown or a medical problem. The suffix medico used to be added by vessels in UK waters to indicate a medical problem (Pan-Pan medico, repeated three times), but has never applied in aviation.

Pan Pan is a lost small Hindu Kingdom believed to have existed around 3rd-5th Century CE., somewhere in Kelantan or Terengganu, Malaysia. ... Pan Pan is a lost small Hindu Kingdom believed to have existed around 3rd-5th Century CE., somewhere in Kelantan or Terengganu, Malaysia. ...

Securite

Main article: Securite
Securite (pronounced /seɪkjʊərɨteɪ/ [stress unknown],[5] from French sécurité) indicates a message about safety, such as a hazard to navigation or weather information.

When a marine radio transmission begins with Sécurité, sécurité, sécurité (pronounced [], after the French word), it means that what follows is important safety information. ... When a marine radio transmission begins with Sécurité, sécurité, sécurité (pronounced [], after the French word), it means that what follows is important safety information. ...

Silence

The following calls may be made only by the vessel in distress or the responding authority:

Seelonce Mayday or Seelonce Distress means that the channel may only be used by the vessel in distress and the coastguard (and any other vessels they ask for assistance in handling the emergency). The channel may not be used for normal working traffic until 'seelonce feenee' is broadcast.
The expressions Stop Transmitting - Distress and Stop Transmitting - Mayday are the aeronautical equivalents of Seelonce Mayday.
Seelonce Feenee (French: silence fini - silence finished) means that the emergency situation has been concluded and the channel may now be used normally. The word prudonce (prudence caution) can also be used to allow restricted working to resume on that channel.
Distress Traffic Ended is the aeronautical equivalent of seelonce feenee.

References

  1. ^ Online Etymology Dictionary
  2. ^ No Joke
  3. ^ RA292 - Non-GMDSS VHF Radiotelephone Procedures
  4. ^ Frederick Stanley MOCKFORD– genealogy
  5. ^ SAY-CURE-E-TAY according to the Australian Coastguard Association

See also

The aircraft emergency frequency is a frequency used on the aircraft radio band reserved for emergency communications for aircraft in distress. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Distress call. ... A distress signal is an internationally recognized means of obtaining help by using a radio, displaying a visual object or making noise from a distance. ... Here are some examples of French words and phrases used by English speakers. ... The Global Maritime Distress Safety System (GMDSS) is an internationally agreed-upon set of safety procedures, types of equipment, and communication protocols used to increase safety and make it easier to rescue distressed ships, boats and aircraft. ... Pan Pan is a lost small Hindu Kingdom believed to have existed around 3rd-5th Century CE., somewhere in Kelantan or Terengganu, Malaysia. ... When a marine radio transmission begins with Sécurité, sécurité, sécurité (pronounced [], after the French word), it means that what follows is important safety information. ... For other uses, see SOS (disambiguation). ... In addition to distress signals like mayday and pan-pan, most vessels, especially passenger ships, use some emergency signals to internally alert the crew onboard, and in some cases also the passengers. ...

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