Marine radio emergency procedure

This page has information on the marine radio distress/urgency procedure, including the distress channels/frequencies in Victoria.

Distress/urgency procedure

An alarm signal is used to attract the attention of operators to the incoming message. It produces a two-toned warbling sound which can be easily distinguished, even in poor reception conditions. 

Distress call

Distress messages prefixed "MAYDAY" repeated three times are used only in grave and imminent danger.

Urgency call 

Urgency messages prefixed "PAN PAN" repeated three times are used when you or your vessel are not in grave and imminent danger.

Safety signal 

Safety signals prefixed "SECURITE" repeated three times (pronounced SAY-CURE-E-TAY) are used when a station wants to pass important information concerning safety such as navigational warnings or weather warnings.

Distress channels/frequencies

Distress and urgency communications can be made on the following channels:

Radio type Channel/frequencies
VHF 16 (67 alternative)
27MHz 88 (86 alternative)
HF (frequency) 4125, 6215 and
8291kHz