Sécurité en bateau / 18 novembre 2020

Pan Pan – Savez-vous ce que signifie cet appel à la sécurité maritime?

When it comes to boating, there’s nothing wrong with understanding how to handle a crisis and knowing how and when to communicate for help. We all know the terms SOS and mayday, but do you know what a Pan Pan Maritime Safety Call means when using it? The best form of communication on a boat is to have a VHF radio. It is a sturdy device that can be used to call for help from other boaters or the Canadian Coast Guard.

What is a VHF radio and what is the benefit?

A marine VHF assembly is a combined transmitter and receiver and operates on standard international frequencies called channels. Throughout North America, channel 16 (156.8 MHz) is the international calling and distress channel. A VHF radio has a power of between 1 and 25 watts, which gives a range of up to about 60 nautical miles between antennas mounted on tall ships and hills, and 5 nautical miles between antennas mounted on small boats. at sea level.

As required by the Radiocommunications Act , all VHF marine radio operators must have a Restricted Operator (Marine) Certificate. The Canadian Recreational Yachts Squadrons (CPS) handle all training and testing for Industry Canada.

Boaters in Canada must obtain an operator’s license to use a VHF radio on a boat. As it is illegal to operate a marine VHF radio without a license.

The Marine Radio course teaches emergency radio procedures and daily operating techniques. The course teaches:

  • The uses of marine radios
  • The choice of frequencies,
  • The operation,
  • The phonetic alphabet,
  • Procedural words and sentences,
  • Digital selective calling (DSC),
  • The Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS)

Getting a VHF radio and learning how to use it is one of the cheapest investments a boater can make in ensuring safety and the ability to communicate in an emergency. A cell phone is not a good choice for communication on a boat. A VHF radio is a necessary safety device on any boat.

Mayday’s story 

Mayday is still used in three: mayday, mayday, mayday. The term comes from the French term « just help me ». Frederick Stanley Mackford, senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, was tasked with creating an easy-to-understand distress signal. At the time, Croydon airport most often communicated with the French airport, Le Bourget, so Stanley landed on Mayday, the phonetic equivalent of helping me. The United States adopted Mayday as its official radiotelegraph distress signal in 1927. Mayday is recognized worldwide for its distress calls.

How to make a distress call

A Mayday appeal is warranted in the event of serious damage, serious injury or illness of a person on board or risk of losing the vessel.

According to the Canadian Marine Transportation Division , in a life-threatening distress situation, select VHF 16 or MF 2182 kHz. Repeat « MAYDAY » three times, then indicate:

  • The name of your boat
  • Indicate your exact location (having a GPS is another good decision) in degrees of latitude and longitude. If you do not know your latitude / long coordinates, you should provide an estimate of the distance and direction to an easily identifiable landmark or navigation aid.
  • The nature of your distress
  • Your radio call sign
  • The number of people on board The assistance you need
  • If you are equipped with DSC equipment, you must precede the « MAYDAY » call with a DSC distress alert
  • Activate your 406 MHz EPIRB
  • Listen to a response and repeat the message until you receive a response.

When to use Pan Pan & Safety

This term is also adopted from French; failure meaning « failure » and security meaning « security ». Pan Pan is another distress call, but it is used when there is no immediate danger to life or property. Repeat « PAN PAN » three times instead of « Mayday ». Use it for emergency situations like running out of gas, engine trouble, slow water intake, or non-life threatening medical emergencies. Safety indicates a boating safety issue such as an impending storm, debris in the water, or broken navigation lights.


Maritime Radio Course: Canadian Yachting Squadrons (CEP)

Additional distress signals:  Sound and visual aid

Understanding Canadian Navigation Aid

the 10 safety instructions to avoid injury and death while sailing

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