Mayday or Pan Pan – How to call a Mayday or a Pan Pan. Know what term to use and why.

A mayday call is a distress signal used by mariners to indicate a life-threatening emergency. It is considered the highest level of urgency in marine radio communications and should only be used in the most dire of circumstances. In contrast, a PAN PAN call is used to indicate a less urgent situation such as a mechanical failure, but still requiring assistance.

Recreational boaters should be familiar with the proper protocol for making a mayday call in case of an emergency. The first step is to activate the boat’s Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) if one is on board. The EPIRB will automatically transmit the boat’s location to search and rescue authorities, making it easier for them to locate the vessel in distress.

Next, the boater should use the VHF radio to make a mayday call. The proper format for a mayday call is as follows:

“MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY. This is (vessel name and call sign) on (channel frequency). Our position is (latitude and longitude or location description) We are in (type of emergency) and require immediate assistance. Over.”

It is important to provide as much information as possible in the mayday call, including the vessel’s name and call sign, location, type of emergency, and the number of people on board. This will help search and rescue authorities respond quickly and efficiently.

Once the mayday call has been made, it is important to keep the VHF radio tuned to the channel used for the call and to listen for any instructions or updates from search and rescue authorities.

In the case of a PAN PAN call the format is similar, the phrase “PAN PAN” is used instead of “MAYDAY”, and the urgency of the situation is described. The format is:

“PAN PAN, PAN PAN, PAN PAN. This is (vessel name and call sign) on (channel frequency). Our position is (latitude and longitude or location description) We are experiencing (type of emergency) and require assistance. Over.”

It is important to note that while a PAN PAN call is less urgent than a mayday call, it should still be treated as a serious situation and requires immediate action.

When making a mayday or PAN PAN call, it is important to use a VHF radio. VHF radios have a limited range, typically around 20 to 25 miles, and the range can be affected by the terrain, the weather conditions, and the power level of the radio. Modern VHF radios have a power output of 25 watts, which can be decreased to as low as 1 watt in low power mode, making it more energy efficient but with a limited range.

It is also important to note that VHF radios are line-of-sight communications, meaning that the radio waves travel in a straight line and can be blocked by obstacles such as hills, buildings, or other boats. This can limit the range of the radio and make it more difficult to establish contact with search and rescue authorities.

In conclusion, a mayday call should only be used in the most serious of emergencies, and recreational boaters should be familiar with the proper protocol for making a mayday call. A PAN PAN call is used in less urgent situations, but still requiring assistance. It’s important to use a VHF radio, be aware of its limitations in regards to range and power, and always have an EPIRB on board in case of an emergency. Knowing the proper protocol and having the right equipment can make all the difference in a life-threatening situation on the water.

Planing VS Displacement Hulls What Is Best For You?

Boat hulls are designed with different displacement types to suit different boating purposes and environments. The two main types of hulls are planing and displacement. Understanding the difference between these two types of hulls and their pros and cons can help you make an informed decision when purchasing a boat.

A planing hull is designed to lift itself out of the water and “plane” on top of the water at high speeds. This type of hull is typically found on powerboats, such as sportboats and runabouts. The benefits of a planing hull include increased speed and maneuverability, as well as a smoother ride in choppy waters. These types of boats are suitable for watersports and recreational boating.

On the other hand, a displacement hull is designed to move through the water, rather than on top of it. This type of hull is typically found on sailboats, trawlers, and other slow-moving boats. Displacement hulls have a more efficient design that allows them to move through the water with less drag, which makes them ideal for long-distance cruising and navigating in calm waters.

One of the main benefits of a displacement hull is its fuel efficiency. These boats are designed to move through the water with minimal resistance, which means they use less fuel than planing hulls. This makes them a great choice for boaters who want to save money on fuel costs and for boaters who want to be more environmentally friendly.

Another benefit of a displacement hull is its ability to handle rough seas. These boats have a more stable and comfortable ride in rough waters, thanks to their design that allows them to cut through waves rather than bouncing over them. This makes them a great choice for boaters who plan to spend a lot of time on the water in rough seas.

However, displacement hulls also have some drawbacks. One of the main downsides is their speed. These boats are not designed to plane on top of the water, so they typically have a lower top speed than planing hulls. This makes them less suitable for watersports and recreational boating.

Another drawback of displacement hulls is their maneuverability. These boats are not as agile as planing hulls, which can make them more difficult to handle in tight spaces or crowded marinas.

In conclusion, both planing and displacement hulls have their own unique benefits and drawbacks. Planing hulls are better suited for recreational boating, watersports, and high-speed travel, while displacement hulls are better suited for long-distance cruising, navigating in rough seas, and conserving fuel. It’s important to consider the type of boating you plan on doing, as well as the waters you’ll be navigating, when deciding on the type of hull that’s right for you.

Chart Plotters And Our Favorite Plotter for Recreational Boaters

Marine chart plotters are essential navigation tools for recreational boaters. They allow boaters to plot and follow a course, view detailed nautical charts, and access important information such as water depths, navigation hazards, and marina locations. To use a chart plotter, boaters must first purchase and install electronic nautical charts, also known as ENCs, onto the device. These charts can be purchased from a variety of sources, including government agencies and private companies. Once the charts are installed, boaters can use the chart plotter’s touchscreen interface to pan and zoom around the chart, view important information such as water depths, and plot a course by simply touching the screen. Chart plotters also come equipped with a variety of advanced features, such as the ability to overlay weather information and radar images, and connect to other navigation devices, such as GPS and autopilot systems.

One of the most important features of a chart plotter is its ability to display real-time data, such as the boat’s speed, heading, and location. This information can be used to navigate safely and efficiently, and can also help boaters avoid potential hazards. Another important feature of chart plotters is their ability to connect to other devices, such as VHF radios and AIS transceivers. This allows boaters to stay in communication with other boats and marinas, and also helps to improve safety on the water.

When choosing a chart plotter for a recreational boat, it is important to consider the size of the screen, the resolution of the display, and the overall user-friendliness of the device. It is also important to consider the type of boating you will be doing, as some chart plotters are better suited for specific types of boating, such as fishing or cruising.

For recreational boaters, we recommend the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV. It offers a large, 7-inch high-resolution display and a user-friendly interface, making it easy to navigate and plot a course. The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV also comes equipped with advanced features such as wireless connectivity, allowing you to share data with other devices and access detailed weather information. Additionally, it has preloaded BlueChart g3 charts and it can connect to other devices like a Panoptix all-seeing sonar, so you can get a live view of the underwater environment.

With the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV, you can also overlay weather information and radar images, and connect to other navigation devices, such as GPS and autopilot systems. This allows you to stay informed and make better decisions while out on the water.

The chart plotter also has a built-in quick-draw feature, allowing you to draw on the chart and mark key locations, such as fishing spots or waypoints, which can be easily shared with other boaters. This can be a great feature for recreational boaters who like to fish or explore new areas.

Another great feature of the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV is its ability to connect to other devices wirelessly, such as smartphones or tablets, using the free ActiveCaptain app. This allows you to access detailed weather information, share location data, and receive software updates without having to connect a cable.

The Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 74CV also has a built-in sonar functionality and it supports both traditional and advanced sonar technologies like CHIRP, ClearVu, and SideVu, giving you a clear and detailed view of the underwater environment.

The device also has a built-in keyed-assist feature, which makes it easy to operate even in rough conditions. The keyed-assist feature makes the device easier to use and control no matter the conditions.

10 Essential Boating Safety Items

Boating safety equipment is essential to ensure the safety of you and your passengers while on the water. Here are ten examples of boating safety equipment that every boat owner should have on board:

  1. Life jackets: Always wear a life jacket while on the water. Make sure to have enough life jackets on board for every passenger, and that they are the proper size and type for the intended user.
  2. Fire extinguisher: Keep a fire extinguisher on board and easily accessible in case of fire. Check the expiration date regularly and make sure it is in good working condition.
  3. Flare: Always carry flares in a waterproof container. Use them to signal for help in case of emergency. Check the expiration date regularly.
  4. First aid kit: Keep a first aid kit on board at all times, including basic medical supplies such as band-aids, gauze, and antiseptic wipes.
  5. VHF radio: Use a VHF radio to communicate with other boats or shore-based rescue teams in case of an emergency. Keep the radio in a dry, easily accessible location and check the battery level regularly.
  6. Personal Locator Beacon (PLB): Carry a PLB to send out a distress signal to rescue teams in case of an emergency. It is a good idea to have one on board, especially if you are planning on boating in remote areas.
  7. Throwable flotation device: Keep a throwable flotation device on board and within easy reach. Use it to rescue someone who has fallen overboard.
  8. Bilge pump: Use a bilge pump to remove water from the boat in case of a leak or other emergency. Keep the pump in a dry, easily accessible location and check the battery level regularly.
  9. Navigation lights: Use navigation lights to signal your location to other boats at night or in low visibility conditions. Check the battery level and keep the lights in good working condition.
  10. Anchor: Always carry an anchor on board. Use it to secure your boat in case of an emergency. Keep the anchor in a dry, easily accessible location and check the line for wear and tear.

It is important to note that the above are just examples of the various equipment that can be considered as a part of boating safety. Different boats may require different equipment depending on the nature of the boating and the intended use. Also, it is important to check the expiration dates of any items that have a shelf life and to ensure that all of your safety equipment is in good working condition. Remember, safety should always be a top priority when boating and having the proper safety equipment on board can help you be prepared for any emergency situation.


Dripless Shaft Seals

Dripless shaft seals are an essential component of a boat’s propulsion system, helping to prevent water from entering the boat’s hull and causing damage. These seals consist of a stationary part, which is mounted to the boat’s hull, and a rotating part, which is attached to the shaft. When the shaft turns, the rotating part of the seal spins against the stationary part, creating a barrier that keeps water out of the boat.

One of the key components of a dripless shaft seal is the lip seal, which is made of a flexible material such as rubber or silicone. As the shaft turns, the lip seal compresses against the stationary part, forming a tight seal. Additionally, some dripless shaft seals also incorporate a water-lubricated bearing, which helps to reduce friction and wear on the seal. This bearing is typically made of a durable material such as ceramic or Teflon.

Dripless shaft seals differ from traditional, or “packing” shaft seals, in that they don’t require the use of packing material to create a seal. Packing material is often made of a braided rope or cord, which is compressed around the shaft to form a seal. The problem with packing material is that it can become worn over time, causing leaks and requiring frequent maintenance. Dripless shaft seals, on the other hand, are designed to be more durable and require less maintenance, making them a more reliable option for boat owners.

Another advantage of dripless shaft seals is that they don’t rely on the boat’s engine to create a seal. In traditional packing seals, the engine must be running in order to compress the packing material and create a seal. This can be problematic in the event of an engine failure, as water can flood the boat’s hull. Dripless shaft seals, on the other hand, create a seal independent of the engine, providing an added layer of protection in case of an emergency.

Overall, dripless shaft seals are a reliable and efficient way to keep water out of the boat’s hull, helping to prolong the life of the propulsion system and protect the boat from damage. They require less maintenance, are more durable and provide an added layer of protection in case of an emergency. They are considered to be a better option than traditional packing seals for boat owners.

Marine Internet, An Internet Connected Boat.

Just a few years ago it was relatively unheard of to have internet on your boat. Now marine internet and connecting your boat and all the devices  needed for everyday life is a relatively easy process once you understand the basics. I will briefly talk about my set up at the dock in this post and I will link to a very well written article from a cruising  boater who goes into depth about the technical and logistical issues and fixes to have an enjoyable internet experience on your boat.

I may be in a very unique situation at my marina. I dock at a marina with no marina wide internet but they do have a house on the property that has internet capability from both Xfinity and Verizon Fios. The Current occupants of the house are using the Xfinity service so I called and was able to get Fios installed. When the installer came I had her install the modem in a housing at the demarcation box from the street so my modem is actually installed right where the Fios service comes into the house. I then installed a Ubiquiti Nanobeam M5-16 Wireless antenna at the house and another Ubiquiti Nanobeam M5-16 Wireless at the dock near my boat. These antennas were probably over kill for my needs but they are great antennas and are sometimes referred to as “air fiber” because they have a very fast high bandwidth capability along with a very long range. Once I had the antennas installed I installed a TP-LINK N300 Long Range 11n 2.4G Wireless Outdoor Access Point on the dock. The access point lets me “share” the internet with all of my devices just like your modem or router does at your house.

For a more in depth look at internet on the water from a boater who just spent a year on the water with his family please read Ben Stein’s article on

Net Neutrality

I’d like to take a moment and share a post about net neutrality. This affects this website and all others you may visit everyday.

On December 14th the FCC will vote to end Net Neutrality rules that are already in place ending protections against ISP’s blocking, slowing or charging for access to certain websites or types of media.

This is a huge loss for consumers and goes against the wishes and comments of millions of Americans who commented on this proposed rule change. The FCC has publicly said they are going to make the change regardless of the wishes of American citizens! Public comment to the FCC was overwhelming in support of keeping the current rules however Chainman Pai of the FCC who is a telecommunications lobbyist has stated he is making the changes regardless of how many comments are against it. This isn’t how a Government for the people by the people works! Literally the only people who want this rule change are the 3 big ISP’s Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. Google, Netflix, Facebook, Reddit, Amazon, millions of Americans and every other internet business are against the change.

Taxpayers funded the development of the infrastructure and creation of the internet and now companies like comcast want you to pay more for something you already paid for. In some cases these companies took taxpayer money with the promise to build out their infrastructure and did nothing with that money.

When the current rules are repealed here’s what can happen to you the consumer. Your internet provider will be able to throttle your connection to certain websites while giving you full access to others that can afford to pay for full access or are owned by your ISP. This hurts small companies and competitors of your ISP. Say you use netflix but Comcast has their own streaming service. They could demand a payment to offer the same connection speed to netflix as their own service while not charging for access to their service. You the end user looses out because that extra payment is going to trickle down to you or you will no longer have usable access to Netflix or Hulu or whatever streaming video site you use. Comcast has been loosing cable subscribers at a record pace and you better believe they will go after streaming video services as soon as the current net neutrality rules are changed in an effort to force people back to cable TV service.

ISPs will be able to block access to websites and services they don’t agree with or are against their business model. This limits your ability to access information in a world where everyone is dependant on the internet. Our children use the internet for school research, we use it for everything from online banking to shopping. Think how much of your life is dependant on accessing any website at anytime. That can and will change. We will see ISPs offer “packages” and add on costs to access websites. These “packages” will be at their choosing. Regardless of your political views you should be concerned about any restrictions or blocking of websites and information sources in an age where most Americans get their news online.

You may be thinking all of this is ok, I will just change my ISP if something like this happens. Truth is most Americans only have access to one ISP and have no option to change if they needed to or wanted to. You are held captive by one company that is about to be able to charge you and content providers whatever they want for access to the internet. The current rules protect you from this!

You can help fight these changes by doing a couple of things:

Call AND write your representatives in Congress and let them know you are firmly against the FCC proposed rules that hurt Americans and voters.

Donate to the people that have been fighting this all along. The EFF @ and

Attend a planned protest in Washington DC on Dec 14th in front of the FCC building to have your voice heard.

Read this CBS article describing what the changes may mean to you.…/fcc-net-neutrality-rollback-what…/


Want to contribute to the boating community?

If you would like to contribute to the boating community and have a topic you would like to write an article about we are always looking for writers and contributors.  Use the contact us link above to submit your information and we will contact you about posting requirements and set you up with an account to post from.  Perhaps you’d like to share useful information about your favorite boating destinations or you would like to share a great DIY tip you use to save money while boating, virtually any boating related information is allowed and encouraged.

Also if you have a boating related question you would like to see answered use the contact us link to submit it and we will do our best to answer it.

Kiddie Fire Extinguisher Recall

Kiddie has recalled 134 models of fire extinguishers manufactured between 1973 and 2015. These models include plastic handle fire extinguishers and push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers.

Many marine models are included in this recall including models that were previously recalled in March 2009 and February 2015. The extinguishers were sold in red, white and silver, and are either ABC- or BC-rated. The model number is printed on the fire extinguisher label. For units produced in 2007 and beyond, the date of manufacture is a 10-digit date code printed on the side of the cylinder, near the bottom.  Digits five through nine represent the day and year of manufacture in DDDYY format. Date codes for recalled models manufactured from January 2, 2012 through August 15, 2017 are 00212 through 22717.  For units produced before 2007, a date code is not printed on the fire extinguisher.

The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard. You can contact Kiddie directly to check your extinguishers to see if they are affected and to learn more info on how to get replacement extinguishers.

Kidde toll-free at 855-271-0773 from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday, or online at and click on “Product Safety Recall” for more information.

This is also a good time to remind everyone to check your extinguishers to insure they are fully charged and in good operating condition. Also it’s not a bad idea to give them a shake and turn them upside down a few time to loosen any dry chemical powder that may have become compacted on the bottom of the extinguisher. If your extinguisher is rechargeable it should be recharged every 10 years. If your extinguisher is disposable it should be replaced every 12 years!

From Kiddies website:

Rechargeable fire extinguishers

According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, rechargeable fire extinguishers must be recharged every 10 years.

A rechargeable fire extinguisher has a metal head, and a gauge that reads Charge / Recharge. Check your fire extinguishers gauge monthly to verify that your fire extinguisher is still charged. If the extinguisher’s gauge needle is in the Recharge area, have your fire extinguisher recharged immediately.

Kidde’s rechargeable fire extinguishers all have a six-year warranty.

For more information about your specific fire extinguisher, refer to your user’s manual.

Disposable fire extinguishers

According to National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards, disposable fire extinguishers must be replaced every 12 years.

A disposable fire extinguisher has a plastic head, and a gauge that reads Full / Empty. Check your fire extinguishers gauge monthly to verify that your fire extinguisher is still full. If the extinguisher’s gauge needle is in the EMPTY area, replace your fire extinguisher immediately.

Kidde’s disposable fire extinguishers all have a 10 to 12-year warranty.

For more information about your specific fire extinguisher, refer to your user’s manual.