Talk:Distress signal

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Quite a few changes... I've added a definition of "distress" to differentiate it from other urgent calls. I've removed the reference to anything in groups of three as it simply isn't true (eg three blasts on a horn or whistle actually means "my engines are going astern" according to the International Code of Signals). I've also taken out some of the details on SOS, Mayday, EPIRBs as it's repeated in the relevant articles.

I've made a differentiation between distress on land, sea and air. You'll spot that my knowledge is sea, so contributions to the land and air sections especally welcomed! --Canthusus 14:50, 14 October 2005 (UTC)

Yes. Merge 16:09, 30 November 2005 (UTC)-- 16:09, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

Yes, I agree, Merge. --CeruleanShine 14:44, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

No, I oppose merging. The merged article would be too big, and difficult to navigate. The specialised technical information about marine distress signals merits a separate article. CarolGray 08:45, 23 December 2005 (UTC)

Yes, Merge, I agree. -- --NvR 11:25, 27 December 2005 (UTC)

406 MHz[edit]

The Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon article keeps talking about modern beacons using the frequency of 406 MHz. Why isn't this mentioned in this article? --ZeroOne 00:02, 7 September 2006 (UTC)

Mountain Distress[edit]

The recognised mountain distress signals are based on groups of three (six in the UK).

This is misleading, partly due to American bias. Six flashes, sounds, blasts or waves is known as the international distress signal and is recognised right across Europe, whereas in North America (US and Canada) three of anything is often described as the international distress signal. Unfortunately, I can't find a definitive source of information. American web sites claim three, European sites (and books) claim six. I can't comment on US books, since I don't have any. 20:16, 3 November 2007 (UTC)

Broken Link[edit]

This link: from the bottom, seems to be broken. I don't want to take it out yet in case it is a temporary problem. HeavyD14 (talk) 04:18, 24 December 2007 (UTC)

Try as the original version is still 404. -- (talk) 23:21, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Inverted flags[edit]

A British flag inverted is much easier to detect than you might think, as British ships will fly a naval flag, not the Union Flag, so one could invert the appropriate naval flag; see Flag of the United Kingdom for the appropriate flags, such as the civil ensign, here. — OwenBlacker (Talk) 14:43, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Yeah; I'm removing that example. The Union Flag is only flown by navy ships and rarely at that. Two examples is enough, anyway. Sabik (talk) 16:20, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Inverted national flags are awkward at best; apparently inverting Poland gives Indonesia. There was also the claim that the Flag of Russia was by tradition inverted during wartime (the standard white top / red bottom orientation is used in peacetime) but I can't find a source for it at the moment. Then again, if kamikaze pilots were flying an inverted flag of Japan, odds are no one would recognise it as a distress condition until after it's too late. -- (talk) 23:19, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Small technical inaccuracy[edit]

The text: "transmitting a spoken voice Mayday message by radio over very high frequency (shorter range VHF) channel 16 (156.8 MHz) and/or high frequency (longer range HF) on 2182 kHz..." incorrectly associates the frequency of 2182 kHz as being in the "high frequency" band. In fact, it is in the Medium Frequency band defined as 300 kHz to 3000 kHz. Patrick (talk) 08:11, 18 December 2008 (UTC)


I added Pan-pan before Mayday to provide the correct impression (Pan-pan being more appropriate in most situations over mayday). It is to be stated also in the article that emergencies need to be called correctly to ensure that the people who are most urgently need to be helped get that kind of attention. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:29, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

Also, in the definition, should it not be better to say: A distress signal is a signal sent to obtain help. It is internationally recognised. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:31, 27 July 2009 (UTC)


The ranges of the frequency channels are to be named eg VHF with a typical vessel radio (25Watt with cord of 12m; straight up) only has a range of 16-19 km (ref: Sailing for dummies by JJ Isler High-frequency has a range of thousands of kilometers Inmarsat-C finally has almost unlimited range

Perhaps that High frequency radio could be boosted with the Internet Radio Linking Project. This would reduce the cost of the radio and offer increased protection from emergencies —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:52, 27 July 2009 (UTC)