You’re not alone out on the deep blue sea!
Do you ever wonder what you would do if you were stranded out in the ocean? Who would you call? Do you have a plan? It’s not like you can call a tow truck. Oh wait, you can call a “tow” boat. Otherwise know as a commercial firm, like Vessel Assist (TowBoatUS) or SeaTow. Or the Coast Guard is always there to help. You do have options, you’re not alone out there!
It’s a distress situation (distress is defined as a situation where you or your boat are threatened by grave or imminent danger requiring assistance) you should call the Coast Guard. They will take immediate steps to help you.
How to signal for help…
- For a distress call, “MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY” on your VHF* radio. Use flares or any other distress signaling device to catch the attention of another boater.
- For a non-distress call the Coast Guard.
- The Coast Guard will need the following information
- Your location or position.
- Exact nature of the problem (special problems).
- Number of people on board.
- Your boat name, registration and description.
- Safety equipment on board.
*Channel 16 VHF/FM and 2182khz HF/SSB are dedicated distress and calling frequencies they monitor at all times.
Sometimes minor problems can quickly turn into a situation beyond your control. It’s a good idea to let someone know when you’re experiencing minor problems, before it turns into an emergency situation.
The Coast Guard’s primary role is to assist boaters in distress. If you are not in distress they will help coordinate assistance for you. Usually by contacting a friend, marina, or commercial firm that you want them contacted. Or you can call them directly.
Think about boating safety before you head out on the deep blue sea. Make sure you have a plan, so you don’t get stranded out there. It’s also a good idea to be familiar with boating and visual distress signals.