Distress Signals And Safety Calls – What You Need To Know

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We live in times where emergencies occur with unnerving frequency, and this is what makes it important to understand the meaning of different Distress signals and safety calls. There are numerous ways to send a distress signal, each with its own pros and cons. Some of the most common ways to do this include the use of a cellphone, flares as well as radio. Let us look at each of these methods in greater detail.

Using flares to send out a distress message

The activation of flares is an integral part of Distress signals and safety calls. Consequently, there are a number of factors to put into consideration when you settle for this method. The first is that you should only use the flare when you are certain that there is a great possibility you will be seen. Take note that flares are different, so you need to be conversant with the instructions availed for firing the flare before use. Hand-held flares for instance, are extremely hot and may burn if caution is not heeded.

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Making a distress call using a radio

As with any other method of making Distress signals and safety calls, there are guidelines to make use of when using a radio. This typically involves the procedure for Mayday signals, the procedure for Pan Pan as well as understanding the inclusion of periods of silence when making the distress call. It is also important to note that while a cell phone cannot take the place of the radio, it comes in handy in the provision of backup. What this means is that if there is need to leave your vessel, you can leave the radio but you will have to go with the cell phone.

Making safety calls by radio

Safety calls typically come from a sea station and will usually provide relevant information as pertains to weather forecasts and especially warnings for bad weather. This however, is not the only option for making safety calls by radio. Part of the Distress signals and safety calls code is that the message could come from a vessel giving warnings for submerged objects. This is done using a distress frequency such as VHF 16.

There are other Distress signals and safety calls that are recognized across the world, and they include the following:

–          A gun that is fired at intervals of about 60 seconds. This need not be a gun only as there is the option of using explosives with the same pattern, after about a minute.

–          Continual and loud sound of a horn

–          Individuals waving in the air with their arms

–          The use of smoke signals to send a message especially on board a vessel.

–          The international symbol on flags which typically constitutes of letter N over letter C.

Knowing these Distress signals and safety calls is critical to the saving of human life where there is need to. For individuals, it is worth noting since you never know when the need will arise.

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