Mayday Distress Signal

Mayday Distress Signal

Mayday Distress Signal

The title of mayday distress signal might seem confusing to many of you since generally speaking, we all know that Mayday is the Labour Day and it is celebrated all across the world on first day of May month each year.

Yet in terms of marine safety, the world mayday has a totally different meaning. In worldwide radio signalling system, Mayday means “come help me“.

This is a voice message that is given out when a ship, a boat or a plane is in distress. The word Mayday has come from French language. The original lines were venez m’aider this means come help me in French. It was too complicated to pronounce this as a result the term mayday was adopted by all.

In the United States mayday distress signal is used only by the mariners and aviators. Whereas in some countries, mayday distress signal is used by police and fire-fighters too. Mayday distress signal is given in a row. Mostly the term Mayday is repeated thrice. This signal cannot be given out always. This is used only when there is a life threatening situation and help is urgently required.

This term is repeated thrice to make it clear beyond doubt since may be a word that sounds similar to Mayday. Hence to avoid confusion the term is repeated three times in a row.

Making false Mayday distress signal is a crime in many parts of the world. United States can punish the guilty for about six years. The fine amount can also go up to 250,000.00 dollars.

Another important aspect to be noted here on Mayday distress signal is that it can be given by one boat on behalf of another. This is also called mayday relay. It may happen that when a mayday signal is sent the response is not received from the coast guard immediately. However, if any other ship has got the mayday signal then they should retransmit the signal to the coast guard on behalf of the ship in trouble. This ensures that Mayday distress signal is transmitted successfully.

It is not that you just say Mayday and it’s over. You can accompany the Mayday distress signal with the name of the ship, the location, the problem, number of people on board, altitude, fuel remaining in minutes, anything else that you may feel necessary. This all depends on how much time you have. It also depends on the radio that you are using for signalling.

Mayday distress signal was the brain child of Frederick Stanley Mock ford. He came up with the concept in 1923. He was working for Croydon Airport in London as a senior radio officer. Since then this term became the distress call that is now internationally accepted. Anyone who is working in a radio centre should give a signal starting Mayday very high priority. If the radio officer fails to do so action can be taken against them.

As soon as Mayday distress signal is received immediately the coastguards send life boats and ships that can help is recovering the boat or the air craft in trouble. These boats are also called life boats. Specially trained crew who can handle emergency are sent. This ensures that the life of all are saved and secured. This is exactly why the law strictly punishes those who send false Mayday distress signals.

The shipping companies and the aviation companies train their crew on how to use the Mayday distress signal. They are also taught how a distress signal should be stated. Some boats keep the Mayday distress signal requirements in their radio room itself so that people can see this and call for help in emergency.

Apart from sending the Mayday distress signal the crew must be told how to handle an emergency. They should know when exactly they can send the Mayday distress signals. They must evaluate the situation well. Since Mayday distress signal is given very high priority and the kind of help it can get is unimaginable, but it can also cause a lot of drain of resources if it is found that the signal was not required at all. If it is later realised that Mayday distress signal was not required, it can get the shipping company into deep trouble.

There are other signals like a pan pan call that can be used too if the situation I not very grave. A stand by person must be kept beside the radio as long as possible. This is to ensure that you can communicate with the party who is coming to help you.

We hope we have given you a good idea about what a Mayday distress signal. Do keep the importance of this life saving message in mind and use it only in situations where the question is of life and death. It is not only information that the shipping and aviation companies should know about. This can be information that even a normal citizen may need to use at a time of emergency.

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