Where can I get a list of appropriate distress signals that I can print off and keep in the ship’s log where any crewmember can find and initiate?
Barry Humphrey – ‘Dreamweaver’
COLREGS, the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea include a list of distress signals which can be exhibited together or separately to indicate distress and the need for assistance:
- Gun or other explosive signal fired at intervals of about a minute;
- Continuous sounding with any fog-signalling apparatus;
- Rockets or shells, throwing red stars fired one at a time at short intervals;
- SOS signal made by radiotelegraphy or by other signalling method consisting of the …—… (SOS) in the Morse Code
- A signal sent by radiotelephony consisting of the spoken word “MAYDAY”;
- the International Code Signal of distress indicated by:
- a signal consisting of a square flag having above or below it a ball or anything resembling a ball;
- flames on the vessel (as from a burning tar barrel, oil barrel, etc.);
- a rocket parachute flare or a hand-flare showing a red light;
- a smoke signal giving off orange-coloured smoke;
- slowly and repeatedly raising and lowering arms outstretched to each side;
- the radiotelegraph alarm signal;
- the radiotelephone alarm signal;
- signals transmitted by emergency positioning-indicating radio beacons;
- approved signals transmitted by radio communication systems, including survival craft radar transponders.
- Piece of orange-coloured canvas with either a black-square and circle or other appropriate symbol (for identification from the air);
- Dye marker.