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
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
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
If you have an imminent life-threatening emergency, transmit on
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
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
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
For further information, please
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.
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