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U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 11SR-1-4

Boating Advisories

WARNING TO: U.S. Registered Yachts and Sailing Vessels;


Radio Code Words You Should Know!

There are some radio code (pro) words that are extremely important for you to know and how to react to them. They refer to different types of emergencies.

  • MAYDAY means there is "grave and immediate danger." Immediate assistance is required.

  • PAN-PAN (pronounced pahn-pahn) is used when the safety of a boat or person is in jeopardy. Man-overboard, missing or overdue boat are sent with the PAN-PAN signal.

  • SECURITE (pronounced say-cure-e-tay) is used to pass navigation information or weather warnings.

RESCUE 21 - is the Coast Guard's new communication system being installed around the country

Highslide JS

If you have a radio and you are under way, you are REQUIRED to monitor Channel 16. MAYDAY takes precedence over all other transmissions. If you hear a MAYDAY, remain silent and listen. Take down the information being passed. If the Coast Guard or other rescue authority respond, maintain silence and listen, but do not respond.
However, if there is no response, take action. Try raising the distressed vessel over the radio. Gather more information, ESPECIALLY THE POSITION. Attempt to contact the Coast Guard while traveling toward the vessel. Sometimes the Coast Guard may not hear the distressed vessel's transmissions, but can hear another vessel near the scene; therefore, call the Coast Guard again, just in case. If you raise them, give them the information you have and follow their instructions. If you cannot contact the Coast Guard, attempt to assist the other vessel to the best of your ability without placing yourself in danger.

If you have an imminent life-threatening emergency, transmit on Channel 16:

  • MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY!  This is (name of boat three times, call letters once). Repeat once more, "MAYDAY," (your boat's name).

  • Now report your position (give as accurate a position as possible).
    Report nature of emergency.

  • Report the kind of assistance desired.

  • Report number of people on board and condition of any injured.
    Description of the boat and seaworthiness.

  • Then wait for a response. If there is none, repeat the message.

An OPERATOR'S PERMIT is only required if you dock in a foreign port. To obtain forms and additional information contact the FCC at (800) 418-3676 for form mailing or download the form or fill in the form online.

Transmission of a false (hoax) distress or emergency message or using obscene or profane language is illegal. If search and rescue units are sent out, the perpetrator is responsible for their costs in addition to the fine.


Security Zones in the San Diego Area
Entry Prohibited

For further information, please visit San Diego Port Security

  Mandatory Personal Flotation Devices for Children

 The Coast Guard has published an interim rule regarding the wearing of PFDs by certain children aboard recreational vessels. It requires that children aboard recreational vessels wear personal flotation devices (PFDs,) or lifejackets. Where a State has no law or regulation requiring children to wear PFDs, the Federal requirement applies to children under 13 years of age, except when they are below decks or in an enclosed structure. Where a State has any law or regulation requiring children to wear PFDs, the Federal requirement adopts the State requirements within that State / Territory / District.
Under California state law, it is an infraction, punishable by a fine of up to $250, to operate a vessel that is 26 feet or less in length unless every child 11 years of age or younger on board is wearing a Type I, II, or III Coast Guard-approved personal flotation device (life jacket).

The law does not apply to:

  • The operator of a sailboat on which every child under age 12 is restrained by a harness tethered to  the sailboat, OR
  • The operator of a vessel on which every child under age 12 is in an enclosed cabin


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U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary 11S-1-4 San Diego, California