Calls in Boating Emergencies
Know How to Call For Help When Boating
Do I use my marine radio or wireless phone when calling for emergency help?
Wireless phones may be used to call 9-1-1 during a boating emergency. A wireless phone is an excellent backup communications device. However, a wireless phone is not a substitute for a VHF-FM marine radio. A marine radio has several distinct advantages over a wireless phone. With the relative low cost and compact size of a marine radio, any boater on any size craft (including canoes and kayaks) should carry a radio.
A marine radio:
- Is waterproof.
- Provides immediate notification of distress to any vessel listening on that channel which means quicker assistance.
- Allows for rescue units to home in on transmission.
To ensure your safety and the safety of others:
- Make sure radio is on and turned to VHF Channel 16.
- Press microphone button and clearly say: "MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, THIS IS..." (Give the following information: vessel name and/or description type, color, length).
- Position and/or location.
- Nature of emergency.
- Number of people on board.
- Release microphone button briefly.
- Wait for 10 seconds. If no answer, repeat the MAYDAY call.
- Follow directions and provide information requested by the rescue agency. If situation permits, stand by the radio for further communication with the Coast Guard or another vessel.