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Yacht Owners Worst Nightmare.

Updated: Sep 21, 2021

  • $6m Luxury Yacht sinking after running aground off the Greek island of Mykonos.

  • Yacht sank after suffering electrical problems which prevented safety equipment from functioning.

  • Local reports said yacht could be saved if help arrived earlier.

How to stay in control during critical stressful situations.

Luxury Yacht sinking after running aground.
Luxury Yacht sinking after running aground.

You find yourself a few miles out of the coast, an emergency situation arises and you need the assistance of a nearby vessel or that of the shore authorities. How to signal for help.

What are your options?

Marine distress signals can be divided into two sections: Pyrotechnic signals and Non-Pyrotechnic signals. Pyrotechnic signals are visual distress signals i.e. flares, rockets, smoke signals and other attention getting devices that burn, spetter, smoke or explode. Opposed to Non-Pyrotechnic signals, methods without the use of any exothermic reaction to attract attention.

An all round known Pyrotechnic signalling device is a red flare, it always and only indicates ‘emergency’. There are aerial and hand held flares, both of which are what they sound like.

Depending on the size of your yacht, you might be required to carry such signalling devices with you. It’s always a good option to check with the Coast Guard or local maritime authorities to see what rules apply and what equipment they recommend.


The most instinctively used Non-Pyrotechnic signal to draw anyone's attention is to transmit the voice message ‘MAYDAY’ over the VHF radio. Use the international assigned channel 16 for emergency communication. Another simple action is to transmit a digital distress signal by activating the distress button on a marine radio equipped with Digital Selective Calling (DSC). If your VHF radio has a built-in GPS, or is networked to onboard GPS, your position along with other essential information will also appear on any receiving radio’s display. It is really important you program MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) into your radio before you need it. Similar to your radio, an Inmarsat VSAT system is bound to have a red button clearly stating ‘distress’.

Know what to do!

A sharp procedure for when it comes to distress situations can save lives and precious crunch time. Generally, there is no time to figure out how to use the radio or where to search for the flare gun. In highly stressful situations you fall back on easy to remember procedures.

Marinminds provides instant comfort and control, quick guides and easy overview of distress signal options and procedures custom made on board your luxury yacht.

Remember mayday signals may only be used when there is grave and imminent danger to life.

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