Using the radio to make a Mayday call - PLEASE READ
I know that many of you probably already know how to use the VHF radios so please forgive me if I'm teaching my grandmother to suck eggs! Please could you read this post and learn the format of the Mayday call.
All our radios are the same design. The small button on the side is the on/off button. Please don't turn the knob on the top of the radio, this is sealed and will let water in if you turn it.
The long button on the side above the on/off is the transmit/receive button. You need to press and hold it while you talk and let go when you finish speaking.
We use the radios on Channel 8 which is a boat to boat channel. Most of the other boats on the water will be on this channel and can hear us so we need to make sure we use the radios sensibly.
If for example you are in Sallyport and want to check the row plan with Langstone Lady.
Langstone Lady, Langstone Lady this is Sallyport, Sallyport over Sallyport, Sallyport this is Langstone Lady over Langstone Lady shall we turn at Marker and head down to Emsworth over Sallyport yes we will follow you out
I know it can feel really silly repeating things but it is the right way to make sure other boats know who your call is for.
Making a MAYDAY call
The main reason we carry the radios is so that we can get help if we get into difficulty. This could be because you have a medical emergency or are taking on water. In the winter the recommendation is that if someone was to fall overboard out in the harbour you should make a Mayday call even if you feel you will be able to rescue them.
First press the blue button on the front of the radio marked 16.
This will change the channel to 16 which is monitored by the coastguard and most shipping
It will also change to transmit on High power giving the radio maximum range
There is a very set order for a Mayday message to make it easy to understand
Mayday Mayday Mayday this is Sallyport Sallyport Sallyport, Rowing Boat
Wait for a moment. Imagine people are reaching for pen and paper to write down what comes next
Mayday this is Sallyport, Rowing Boat
We are in Chichester Harbour just south of Verner Marker
We have a man overboard
We require immediate assistance
There are four people onboard
We are a blue rowing boat.
The acronym MIP DANIO is used to help you remember the order of the call. I find it harder than just learning an example but I've included it below in case you find it helpful.
I Id - Name of boat and in our case just Rowing boat as we don't have an ID number or code
P Position - you can give a description or lat/longitude or These three word from the app if you prefer
D Distress - what your problem is
A Assistance required - immediate
N Number of people on board
I Info - anything that helps describe your boat
O Other information you think is important