Follow NZUA


Mayday Calls

How to make a MayDay call.

Mayday Calls

Only make a Mayday call on your VHF radio if you are in imminent danger and need immediate help. You don’t need to hold a VHF license to make a Mayday call. Anyone onboard can!

The procedure for making a Mayday call is: ‐

Turn your VHF radio to channel 16

Say the following:

  • “This is [vessel name]” three times
  • “Callsign [of the vessel]” once
  • "MAYDAY [vessel name and callsign]".
  • "[bearing and distance from known landmark]".
  • (use your GPS coordinates, if available)
  • "[nature of distress and assistance required]".
  • "[any other information, e.g., number of persons onboard]."
  • “Over”

Allow a short time. If no reply is forthcoming, repeat your Mayday.

Additional Resources