Talk:Mayday

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Radio (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Radio, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Radio-related subjects on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
 

This article has comments here.

WikiProject Telecommunications (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Telecommunications, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Telecommunications on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the importance scale.
 
WikiProject Transport / Maritime  (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Transport, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of articles related to Transport on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the Maritime task force.
 
WikiProject Disaster management (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of WikiProject Disaster management, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of Disaster management on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the importance scale.
 
WikiProject Aviation (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of the Aviation WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see lists of open tasks and task forces. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
Checklist icon
 

This article has comments here.

 
This article has an assessment summary page.

Start with a Definition[edit]

Could I plead that the article needs a conventional definition from first principles as its opening, rather than diving straight into "if you're in danger, put out a Mayday".

More facts please[edit]

This page could do with more factual information, along the lines of pointers to and quotes from the "Official" bodies which have designated the word as reserved on comms channels: these might be any of:

  • National legislation
  • Aviation Authorities (FAA, CAA, JAA &c)
    • Should be possible to point to source docs - I have them for CAA & JAA somewhere
  • Maritime organisations

In addition, it would be useful to clarify the business of channel numbers & frequencies. I think (but could be wrong) this article has set out from a limited US Maritime perspective. Is Channel 16 a sufficient description of the channel; is it used worldwide? Does channel 16 have meaning in aviation, or should we be citing a frequency? Are there any substitutes for Mayday when voice comms die (e.g. clicking the Send button to form SOS?)

Maritime VHF channels are standardised worldwide, hence that part is not specific to the US and "Channel 16" is the worldwide distress channel. Civil Aeronautical VHF frequencies are also standardised worldwide and 121.5Mhz is the distress frequency. In addition there is an unused "guard" band around the frequency from 121 to 122 Mhz. The official body that has designated the word as a distress signal is the [International Telecommunications Union]. Roger 18:25, 1 December 2007 (UTC)

Tone of Voice[edit]

I agree that this entry should give clear direct and unabiguous advice on how to make a mayday. It needs to avoid hyperbole and crap examples "use pan if man has fallen overboard and is not being eaten by sharks".

--Tagishsimon 16:25, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Hi Tagishsimon,

Well, sure, it's good to start with a definition. Edit away.

But, you said in your note to the changes you made 'removed all mild hysteria, hyperbole and repetition. This is an encyclopedea, not an emergency situation'.

I'm feeling offended by your suggestion that my tone was one of hysteria. I don't agree that it was.

By the way, I've made a mayday call from a sinking ship; this is what made me think it might be a good idea to add instructions for making a call to the wikipedia entry.

And I'd say that, if we're giving instructions on how to do it, then for anyone reading those instructions, they *do* need to relate directly to an emergency situation. Because there's no other situation in which a mayday call is appropriate.

(I'm not suggesting that anyone's going to be reading from the web at the time of an emergency, but that we may be the place they've learnt how to do it).

OK, I'm guessing it's this paragraph that you think is OTT:

  You can make a 'Mayday' call to get help from a boat or aircraft in a serious
  life-threatening emergency, such as fire, explosion or sinking. 
  If you transmit a mayday call as a joke, you are committing a very serious 
  crime - you could be put in prison for six years and fined $250,000. You are 
  also putting the lives of your rescuers in serious danger. '

I think that, if we're going to give instructions on how to make a mayday call, it's only responsible to make it very clear - particularly to kids, who do put Coastguard lives at risk with fake maydays - when a mayday call is not appropriate.

My intentions were to make it very clear when an emergency call is appropriate, and when it isn't.

Hence the examples of emergencies. The official 'grave and imminent' is fine as an academic definition, but basically fire and sinking are the two main times that such a call is appropriate. So I don't agree that this is hyperbole.

On the other issues:

- More facts: Yes, we absolutely need them. The article really covers US/UK maritime only. Channel 16 is afaik an adequate description for VHF, but there are other radio frequencies. If radio is unavailable then a different distress signal would be appropriate.

- Tone of voice - agreed. Although in fact the MOB (man-overboard) situation is a relevant example because in theory I believe this should be a pan-pan - but most people would make a mayday, and the Coastguard understand this. [1]

Best, --257.47b.9½.-19 17:05, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)


> I'm feeling offended by your suggestion

Apologies to you for that. I didn't mean to cause offence, but I guess I was being bold to the point of pugnaciousness in stating my reaction to the page as was.

I've done all the hacking on this page I'm going to do for today; please feel free to take it on to the next version if you please. (You have - good edits! --Tagishsimon 17:33, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC))

I note we agree very much more than we disagree; I'm happy to work with you to see that clear examples are elucidated on the page; and I'll come back and read your comments more slowly later in the weekend, but now I must go and have a real life for a few hours :)

best wishes --Tagishsimon 17:30, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)


Thanks Tagishsimon, I'm sure we can work up a useful article here.

One interesting angle might be the future of the Mayday call - increasingly an automated system (DSC) is being used, which has the advantage that you just have to press a single button (it's integrated with GPS so the position is transmitted too), but the disadvantage that as large ships increasingly switch to DSC there's going to be less people listening on Channel 16.

I'm going back to RL in a few minutes as well...

Best wishes, --257.47b.9½.-19 17:48, 3 Apr 2004 (UTC)

"m'aidez" vs "m'aider"[edit]

The English version of the article is saying that "mayday" comes from "m'aidez", but the French one says it comes from "m'aider", as in "Venez m'aider". Personally, I don't know which is correct.

Bob A 06:57, 2 September 2005 (UTC)

The imperative form is not correct french, see the link Comte0 16:00, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

The English version says " ... m'aidez (the infinitive form of ...". Either "m'aidez" should be "m'aider", or "infinitive" should be "imperative" (and vice versâ later on).

Well, I believe that issue is now over after my 'addition' of the 'origin of the word' section

Klidge 21:25, 13 April 2006 (UTC)

"m'aidez" is not really imperative: "aidez-moi" is. The only sense a french speaking person makes of "m'aidez" is in the form "vous m'aidez" which is present tense "you're helping me". The meaning of "I need help" in french would be either "aidez-moi" or "il faut m'aider". The only one of which sounds like "mayday" is the infinitive form "m'aider". 15:27 27 June 2007

I just removed the "m'aidez" from the etymology, and I hope no one puts it back. It is bad French and false etymology. Languagehat (talk) 14:37, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Judging by the above comments the etymology is all nonsense, apparently just made up from 'common knowledge' and linguistic inference. Etymology is not required to be grammatical or logical, just factual. If no facts exist, this should be stated. Moreover, what reference supports that it was mispronounced by specifically British sailors? — Preceding unsigned comment added by 109.27.27.170 (talk) 19:05, 16 February 2014 (UTC)


MAYDAY![edit]

 I am French and I am not sure that Mayday is not used in France.
 If anyone is sure, he'll help by suppressing the sentence "It takes no more
sense in French[...]" etc... at the last sentence of the "Origin" part please!

-END OF TRANSMISSION-

Do you mean it isn't used in everyday conversation? Because it's an international distress signal. --Zagsa 02:09, 6 July 2006 (UTC)

Advice against use[edit]

I removed the following unsourced addition:

"The emergency code word MAYDAY should only be used aboard a vessel or aircraft where there may be imminent loss of life. Using it otherwise can endanger the lives of emergency responders tens or hundreds of miles or kilometers away, because helicopters and aircraft will respond to a mayday call with limited fuel supplies and risk crashing in order to pinpoint the caller's location. This has caused fatal crashes several times in open-ocean and in the Canadian and Alaskan wilderness."

While there are widespread warnings against using the "MAYDAY" call where there is no emergency, generally in situations of doubt were a person is unsure whether there is an emergency people are encouraged to call. e.g. [2] Absent an official source for this statement, I believe the article has more than enough cautions on misuse.--agr 13:50, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

History := Bullshit?[edit]

Mayday is, of course, from the french m'aidez...but "history" gives an implausible story about it being from a ship sinking on May Day, and a guy trying to do a Remember the Alamo/Lusitania sort of thing. Is he full of crap? --Kaz 14:40, 1 May 2007 (UTC)


Yes. This is pure folk entomology.

well im not sure what that has to do with insects, but ok. Trottsky 19:46, 8 May 2007 (UTC) (entomology)

LOL. Etymology, rather than entomology, was meant. 69.42.7.98 (talk) 23:44, 26 August 2009 (UTC)

"Seelonce feenee" etc[edit]

Is there a reason the Silence calls are given in English spelling of French words? Surely, given these aren't English words (unlike Mayday or Pan[-Pan]), we should list them in the original French and then give a prounciation guide?

It just looks rather hackneyed to me using nonsense words like "Seelonce feenee", rather than just Silence fini in French. Unless they're international codewords that are genuinely spelt like that in English? — OwenBlacker (Talk) 14:34, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

My VHF Marine Radio book anglisizes it with "Seelonce fini". Billscottbob (talk) 18:34, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Oh, ok. Fair enough then; pretend I wasn't here  ;o) — OwenBlacker (Talk) 09:12, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Flight 93 Mayday[edit]

VegitaU has added an audio file that I think is a very bad example of a Mayday radio call. It appears to involve a few people speaking at once then somebody in the background shouting, almost screaming, "Mayday! Mayday!" and nothing else. This may have been what happened on that unfortunate flightdeck, but it is a far cry from what thousands of radio operators a year are taught: to select the emergency calling channel, push 'transmit' and say, in a clear speaking voice, something like "Mayday, Mayday, Mayday. This is ..., at position ... with xy persons on board. We have ... problem and request immediate assistance". Can we either do without sensationalist soundbites, or find something more helpful to the reading public's view of how trained professionals generally behave in emergency situations? --Nigelj (talk) 22:24, 5 September 2008 (UTC)

Just trying to help. I'm not familiar with how a "standard" mayday call sounds like, but I just wanted to add an example of what one Mayday call actually sounded like. If there's a free-version of a proper call (from, say, the Coast Guard or Merchant Marine websites), feel free to upload them. -- Veggy (talk) 22:39, 5 September 2008 (UTC)
Then I think the current audio link should go for now, until someone finds a more realistic, helpful and less sensationalist example. Have any other editors got any comments before I remove it? --Nigelj (talk) 11:04, 7 September 2008 (UTC)


Seelonce Distress is not in use anymore. If a station is disturbin the distress traffic any station (which is the station in distress, the station leading the distress traffic as well as stations following the distress traffic), shall call out with the word Seelonce Mayday.(eab) —Preceding unsigned comment added by 194.177.253.226 (talk) 05:34, 30 September 2008 (UTC)

Definition[edit]

It is used to signal a life-threatening emergency by many groups, such as police forces, pilots, firefighters, and transportation organisations.

Instead of this life, it should be made something like "It is used to signal a emergency requiring immediate response by many groups, such as police forces, pilots, firefighters, and transportation organisations.

A short line below this section could state that this differs it from Pan-pan. It is to be stated 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 81.245.66.161 (talk) 08:26, 27 July 2009 (UTC)

"Emergency" implies imminent, irreversible harm that must be attended to immediately. As insensitive as this may sound, there is also a point at which the financial impact of losing a community resource warrants consideration as an "emergency". So, an emergency is either (by definition) "life-threatening" which would make the use of both terms redundant, or the article's definition recognizes that an "emergency" isn't always "life-threatening". A call initiates triage. After triage, the call was either emergent, made in error, or results in law enforcement. --Kernel.package (talk) 19:33, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

The article topic is about a type of emergency. Therefore, reference to non-emergent use of Mayday do not belong here should be removed. It isn't about the Coast Guard, so what Coast Guard does does not belong here. Any statement about what the Coast Guard does should be limited to the article about the Coast Guard. Coast Guard should definitely NOT be contacted to handle an out-of-fuel situation. The nearest Harbor Master (marina) is the point-of-contact for anything that is not emergent. --Kernel.package (talk) 19:33, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

"Grave and imminent" danger is a synonymous with "emergency". Use of multiple terms to mean the same thing usually interferes with understanding. Instances where analagous terms are mentioned in order to provide a frame of reference should be made in one location in order to emphasize clarity. ("Life threatening" is a subset, according to the previous paragraph). --Kernel.package (talk) 19:33, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

This article is not about radio licensure and the reference to any requirement for licensing should be removed. --Kernel.package (talk) 19:33, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

To clarify first comments (from July 2009): "Mayday" is a request to render aid, generally made to an agency (When aid is needed a Mayday is usually made to anyone who can help). "Pan-Pan" is an agency-to-agency call. --Kernel.package (talk) 19:33, 24 May 2010 (UTC)

Lifeboat picture is off topic here[edit]

It doesn't show a Mayday call. It only shows something superficialy related to Mayday calls. We could as well depict a sinking ship with the caption "This ship is sinking [link]. It probably has been sending a mayday already" 84.160.192.104 (talk) 19:29, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Plagiarism anyone?[edit]

Since when is it ok to copy and paste a sentence from another wikipedia article into another article? What happened to originality? Just look at the first sentence under Pan-Pan, then go to the wikipedia page for Pan-Pan. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 219.106.145.170 (talk) 14:15, 13 March 2010 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page moved per request. - GTBacchus(talk) 12:33, 25 September 2011 (UTC)



Mayday (distress signal)MaydayPrimary topic. Universally recognizable. Marcus Qwertyus 23:23, 17 September 2011 (UTC)

  • Support. Agree with nom that this is the clear primary topic – easily distinguishable from May Day. Jenks24 (talk) 11:33, 25 September 2011 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Unsourced Material[edit]

Article has been tagged for needing references for over a year. Please feel free to re-add below material with appropriate citations. Doniago (talk) 12:59, 14 May 2012 (UTC)

Speedbird[edit]

On the docymentary MayDay (I think of Discovery Channel Canada) I heard the word Speedbird when a commercial plane in the UK did an emergency landing. What do you know about this? Is it the name/sign for British Airways or is it an emergency landing word? 688dim (talk) 12:06, 1 June 2012 (UTC)

History -- Doubtful Claim[edit]

During the early days of post and telegraph services, French was the accepted language for international communications purposes. That is why, to this day, we write "Par Avion" on airmail letters.

Other examples include "pan" as a distress call meaning breakdown, "brume" meaning mist, "grèle" meaning hail, and "fume" meaning smoke. For that matter, the word "post" itself comes from French.

That an Englishman "invented" the mayday callsign is highly unlikely. More likely, he transliterated "m'aider" for English-speaking pilots and radio operators.

JoeMCMXLVII (talk) 18:53, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

  1. ^ No Joke
  2. ^ Aeronautical Information Manual, paragraph 6-3-2, "Obtaining Emergency Assistance", Federal Aviation Administration, 1999