Search and Rescue, Alan Sorum – original

“Discover How Pleasure Boaters Can Now Use
the Same Equipment
Used By Commercial
Boaters for Search
and Rescues”

Highlights from this Segment

The most direct method used by a boat in distress

– Five key elements to a May Day call

– Just who is answering these May Day calls

– Who can turn in a report and why

(transcript for this segment)  

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Here’s what you’ll discover in this presentation… 

  • How one type of emergency signaling technology has saved more than 25,000 lives since 1982
  • What you need to know about changing EPIRB batteries
  • The most important reason to register your EPIRB
  • Three ways to be in control of a successful search and rescue
  • By not using these practical steps you lessen your chances of being rescued
  • If you are not training your family in these three things, you could end up losing a life
  • The latest advances in EPIRB technology
  • Which of the two categories of EPIRB is right for your boat
  • A four-step blueprint to complete a search and rescue
  • Discover why a marine VHF radio is a better option than a cell phone

About Alan Sorum

Alan Sorum is an unreformed harbormaster in Alaska. A member of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, Alan is also a featured boating writer on


Robin: … how would a rescue be facilitated?

Alan:  There’s quite a few different things that could happen. Basically, the idea is that you’re going to call the Coast Guard or another authority and ask for help. So, the most direct method is the boat in distress makes a MayDay call on channel 16 and communicates directly with the Coast Guard. That’s one way. If you’re carrying a radio locator beacon those beacons operate in a couple different modes. But, if the beacon transmits a distress signal the Search and Rescue satellite system can pick that up and alert the search and rescue authority to start a rescue mission. Or a lot of times, people will see another boat in distress or they’ll hear something on the radio that concerns them so a third party can turn in a report. Or you filed a float plan with the harbormaster or with a family member and you didn’t come back on time, that person can call the coast guard and ask that they check up on you.

Robin: Ok, so can you just give us an example and pretend you’re putting in a MayDay call so we can hear what it would sound like? (Nothing like putting you on the spot.)

Alan: Yeah, basically it’s three May Days – so it’s May Day May Day May Day  – and then you give the name of your vessel – this is the Joy 2, I’ve got so many people on board, I’m in a particular location – so it’s basically, May Day, the name of your boat, number of people on board, where you’re located and the nature of your distress. And the good thing about it is you always start off saying the May Day message 3 times – get them just the basic information about your situation out there and the Coast Guard comes back and will then talk to you. They’ve actually got an entire script where they’ll sit down and go through the whole situation with you and nail down all the information they need. So the key is to get that first conversation started. But that’s the jest of it.

Robin:  Ok, so you mentioned that the Coast Guard has a script. So I would take it, they have somebody sitting in the office, not the actual Coast Guard that’s sitting out on the boats going around rescuing you but somebody in the office. And they have a script in front of them that they’re going to be asking questions so, the person, even though they’re in a May Day distress call

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