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 Urgency alert followed by a Mayday Relay Call and Message. The sheet below highlights the procure step-by-step.

PDF Mayday Relay Message (Urgency Alert)

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

Note: This is the second situation when you get to send a urgency alert (the other being before a Urgency or Panpan message). It is common mistake to think we should send a Distress Alert in this situation. However, remember this is someone else in distress and the red button (distress alert) gives out your details as the boat in distress which could confuse the sitution.

On the Icom this is done as follows:

– Press MENU
– Scroll using the ARROWS to All Ships Call
– Press ENTER
– Scroll using the ARROWS to Urgency
– Press ENTER
– Press ENTER again to confirm
– the Alert has been sent.

If this does not make it clear, see the video below (DO NOT DO THIS ON A NORMAL RADIO):

The alert is a digital message which includes your MMSI number but NOTyour position.

Once the alert is sent you should wait approximately 10 seconds for the alert to be acknowledged and for people to grab a pencil. The alert is followed up by a verbal Mayday Relay call and message.

Note: 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


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