Get help – FAST

If you are in grave and imminent danger on the water and you need urgent help, use every means you have to call for help, including both your marine radio and your mobile phone.

Make a MAYDAY call on your marine radio and call Triple Zero (000) on your mobile phone.

On your radio

Say the word MAYDAY three times. Give your exact position. If possible, use your GPS or smartphone to read out the latitude and longitude.

Tell the radio operator:

  • what is wrong (your boat is sinking, on fire etc)
  • how many people are on board
  • what your boat looks like (6m red runabout)
  • what you’re doing (setting off your EPIRB and flares, abandoning ship)

On your phone

Call Triple Zero (000) and ask for Police. The operator will want similar details.

Don’t rely only on your phone – you could be out of range, the battery could be flat and remember, only the person to whom you are speaking can hear you. If you use your mobile radio, MRNSW and nearby boaters with their radio on the same frequency will hear you.

Activate your EPIRB

A GPS-equipped 406MHz EPIRB has location accuracy of 120 metres. Non-GPS equipped EPIRBs are accurate within five kilometres. Both of these will help guide search and rescue crews to you, saving valuable search time in an emergency operation.

Let off an orange smoke flare (daylight) or a red hand-held flare (night) and display your orange V sheet to help attract attention from nearby vessels and aircraft overhead.

Where are you?

If a rescue team knows your position in an emergency, they will obviously reach you more quickly than if they have to mount a search over a large expanse of the ocean. Minutes can mean the difference between life and death on the water so make sure you can tell us just where you are.

Read your location from your GPS. If you don’t have an on-board GPS, check your smartphone. Most have GPS but don’t wait until you’re caught in an emergency to find out. Otherwise, refer to your charts or look landmarks if you are close enough to shore.