The coastguard radio operator receives his training, then one December evening in comes his first ‘Mayday’,
‘Mayday’ call.  What could possibly go wrong?

1) Radio operator receives his instructions

Mayday briefing - Sinking

2) Radio frequencies checked

Mayday briefing - Sinking

3) Coastguard responds to ‘Mayday’ call

Mayday briefing - Sinking

How did the conversation go?  What could possibly be misunderstood?

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Mayday Calls in Real Life

Will and Guy wish to point out that ‘Mayday’ is THE most serious radio call.
Its use is reserved for grave emergencies, such as a crash, sinking or craft on
fire.  The best channels to issue a mayday call are: for planes: airband
frequencies of 121.5 MHz and 243.0 MHz.  For ships marine MF on 2182 kHz or
marine VHF radio channel 16 (156.8 MHz).

For lesser emergencies such as becalmed, out of fuel, the correct signal is
‘Coastguard’ on VHF Channel 16.

Incidentally, while Mayday comes from the french venez m’aider, which means
‘come to help me’, it was invented by Frederick Stanley Mockford, who was a
radio officer at Croydon (Gatwick), England.

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