Recreational Boating Information for the Northwest

Emergency Information
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 DSC Alert if available then May-Day on VHF CH. 16 while you still have power. 

  • Activate DSC Alert if available
  • May-Day, May-Day, May-Day, this is 'Vessel Name", "Vessel Name", Vessel Name"  -  M.M.S.I. (number) & call sign when option is available 
  • May Day, '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)
  • Over
If there is no response after a few moments, repeat the above message.












USCG Sector Puget Sound
24 Hour Emergency Response
*Only call when a vessel is missing 
or in danger.
 *(206) 217-6001


Washington State Boat Accident Report Infomation

Washington State law requires the operator of 
a recreational vessel involved in an accident
to file a Washington Boat Accident Report. 
(PDF download)

Vessel Rescue | Towing | Diving | Salvage Services:

  • > Vessel Assist - Everett | 425.344.3056
  • Vessel Assist - Seattle | 203.300.0486
  • > Vessel Assist - Tacoma | Olympia | 253.312.2927
BOAT SAFETY:  9 Emergency Signals & Devices