the Severn boating page

International Marine Distress Signals.

Only used when a vessel or person is in  grave and imminent danger and  immediate  assistance is required.

VHF Voice Radio Communications.
VHF radioCHECK Radio is on Transmit at high power on Channel 16

  • THIS IS (repeat yacht name 3 times)
  • MAYDAY (yacht name)
  • MY POSITION IS (lat and long, or distance and true bearing from a known location)
  • Nature of Distress
  • Nature of Assistance required
  • Number of people on board (including the Skipper)
  • Any other relevant information
  • OVER (remove finger from transmit button)

Listen for response.   Repeat if necessary.

VHF Digital Radio Communications.

The latest VHF radios are equiped with a Digital Selective Calling (DSC) facility which is interfaced with the ship's GPS instrumentation.

On pressing a distress button, the radio will transmit a digital Mayday on Channel 70 which will identify you using a registered identification number (MSSI) and relay your position to the local coastguard and will alert ships in your vicinity.

Wait 15 seconds and follow up with a voice May Day on Channel 16.

Visual Signals.

visual distress signals flags and flares from severnboating known as severn or severn boating

Other Signals.

Continuous sounding of a fog horn.    Morse code SOS (3 dots, 3 dash, 3 dots) sent by any means may still be recognised

A mobile telephone (cell net) to the emergency services may be useful on inland waters but is not recommended for use at sea. It is not monitored by other vessels or the rescue services and offshore reception is unreliable.

RETURN to Severn boating