Mayday Relay

This is when you know of someone else is in distress but they are either unable or have no means of contacting a coordination centre (probability the coastguard).

Relay Immediately

If the vessel or person has no means of transmitting a distress you can transmit on their behalf immediate ie. a person stranded by the tide or if you see a set of distress flares.

Relay after 4 Minutes

For vessels who have sent a Distress alert and/or call but not received an acknowledgement from a Ship or Rescue Co-ordination centre.

In these situations we could consider sending a Mayday Relay Call and Message. The sheet below highlights the procure step-by-step.

Mayday Relay Message

LEARN: Before the course, make sure you know the basic structure a Mayday relay call and message.

Note: No digital alert or announcements should be sent before transmitting by vioce (this was changed in 2019). 

If you are relaying a message you may not know all the details you would normally include in a mayday message. Don’t guess. Simply do you best to transmit the important information. ie. if you message is on behalf of a person stranded by the tide, give their position but will not have a callsign or MMSI number.

Example 1

In this situation you have received yacht “Tinky Winky’s” mayday which has not been acknowledged.

You noted down all the details and waited 4 minutes before deciding to transmit the following message. Note that the call includes your details (you are on yacht “Dipsy”) but the message is a carbon copy of Tinky Winky’s message.

Mayday Relay, Mayday Relay, Mayday Relay
This is Yacht Dipsy, Dipsy , Dipsy
MMSI 232008741

Mayday Yacht Tinky Winky
MMSI 234000679
In position is 50°12’.4N 002°15’.7W
Holed and sinking
Require immediate assistance
Three persons on board
They have a life-raft.

Example 2

In this case you are sending a message on behalf of an unknown person so many of the details are either unknown or not needed. In this case you just do your best (you are on Motor Boat “Po”).

Mayday Relay, Mayday Relay, Mayday Relay
This is Motor Boat Po, Po, Po
MMSI 235899996

Stranded person at base of cliff In approximate position 50°12’.4N 02°15’.7W
He has been cut off by tide – partially immersed in water.
Immediate assistance required


The content of these pages is put together in good faith and is constantly evolving. It is possible that errors exist within this content.

If you spot an error or would like to add anything to these pages please contact us via email.

Reading the content of these pages is not a substitute for completing a RYA SRC Course or similar.