U.S. Coastguard broadcasts “PAN PAN” on channel 16 – a vessel with no bodies

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That is why my wife always tells me “Wear your lanyard!” (especially if I’m alone).

It’s common to hear “Securite” broadcasts all day long, but when I hear a “Pan Pan” or a “Mayday Mayday”, listening vessels must be ready to assist or relay.

The following is from The BoatUS Foundation.

In emergency situations, there are certain procedures to follow to ensure prompt response to your need for help. There are three phrases that you might hear on a VHF radio, and they all relate to safety.

MAYDAY – distress signal, requires the most urgent response. This signal is only to be used when a person, or boat is threatened by grave or imminent danger, and requires assistance.

PAN-PAN – (pronounced pahn-pahn) used to signal urgent information, like when someone has fallen overboard, or a boat is drifting into shore or a busy shipping channel. If your emergency isn’t immediately life threatening, say Pan-Pan instead of Mayday, for example if you have a controllable leak, and you want help standing by in case it gets worse.

SECURITE – (pronounced sea-cur-i-tay) is the safety signal. This is used to transmit information about the safety of navigation. For instance, if a large commercial vessel is coming through a narrow channel, this signal would be used. Can also be used to transmit weather information, such as when a powerful storm system is approaching.


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