Recreational Boating Information for the Northwest
Covering Puget Sound & San Juan Islands
911 is always the fastest way to get assistance but only in a life threatening or imminent danger situation.
VHF Distress Calls - CH16
Transmit a May Day distress call only when imminent danger threatens life or property and immediate assistance is required. Transmit a Pan-Pan ("Pahn Pahn") urgency call when the safety of a person or vessel is in jeopardy, but the danger is not life threatening. Transmission of a Pan Pan follows the same format as given for a May Day below.
>Transmit May Day while you still have power.
>Transmit May Day on Channel 16 as follows:
- May Day, May Day, May Day
- This is 'Vessel Name' repeated three times
- 'Vessel Name' is at Position (Lat and Long), or distance / bearing from landmark
- We are (describe nature of emergency)
- We require (describe nature of assistance needed)
- Aboard are (describe number of people, age and condition if relevent)
- We have (describe safety equipment)
- 'Vessel Name' is (description: length, sail/power, design type, hull color, trim color)
>If there is no response after a few moments, repeat the above message.
24 Hour Emergency Response
*Only call when a vessel is missing
or in danger. *(206) 217-6001
- TACOMA | OLYMPIA: (253) 312-2927
County Sheriff / Harbor Patrol
City Harbor Patrol & Fire
Washington State Boat Accident