Fishing Boat Emergency Procedures

There are inevitable scenarios in which an emergency will occur onboard a ship.

Even though the greatest precautions are taken to ensure everyone onboard is safe, things come up requiring officers to react quickly and to signal for help. This can be the result of bad weather, mechanical problems, or health emergencies onboard.

Whatever the reason, all onboard employees will undergo training so that they can handle an emergency procedure if the situation calls for action. Emergency procedures are something that everyone should take seriously while onboard. Although it is likely that specific, more experienced crew will be charged with making a Mayday call in the event of an emergency, everyone needs to be knowledgeable on the correct procedures. Predicting an emergency onboard is nearly impossible, and assuming that the correct person to make the call for help will always be available, won’t always be the case. As a result, all crewmembers need to know how to signal for help.

Signaling for help is only used in serious situations. Signaling for help is done by utilizing the boat’s radio to call for outside assistance, either to another boat or the Coast Guard. Mayday signals can be transmitted on any channel although, emergency response teams monitor-designated frequencies.The correct procedures are:

Be sure the radio is on and transmitting on Channel 16 VHF or 2182 kHz SSB. Then clearly say:

  1. MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY
  2. Your vessel name and call sign three times
  3. Your position (latitude, longitude, and loran)
  4. Nature of distress (fire, grounding, medical emergency, etc.)
  5. Total number of people on board (P.O.B.)
  6. Amount and type of survival gear on board (immersion suits, life rafts, EPIRB, flares, etc.)
  7. Vessel description (length, color, type, etc.)
  8. Listen for a response. If there is none, repeat the message until it is acknowledged or until you’re forced to abandon ship.

It is important to list your location and distress call as clearly as possible so that the appropriate action can be taken upon receiving your signal.

There will be other emergency procedures onboard the ship. For example, if a Mayday call cannot be made, distress signals or other calls for help can be used. These should all be reviewed at the time of hire.

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