Thursday, May 01, 2008

French on the VHF Radio?

In case you have been wondering why French is being spoken on the marine VHF radio, here is the origin of some of those silly words...

ORIGIN OF SECURITE
This is said three times on Channel 16 when it preceeds a message concerning safety, hazardous navigation or some sort of danger to mariners. This comes from the French word for "safety". For some boaters it would be a good idea to use this whenever attempting to dock their boat!

ORIGIN OF PAN PAN (URGENCY DISTRESS CALL)
This is repated three times - PAN PAN PAN - and comes from the French word 'panne' which roughly means breakdown. Certain vessels in the AYC fleet seem to use this on a regular basis due to their highly unreliable auxilliary propulsion units...

ORIGIN OF MAYDAY
The term Mayday is also repeated three times and is an internationally recognized call for immediate help. It comes from the French word m'aidez or 'help me'. Note that it is not a good idea to call mayday when your barbie runs out of propane!

So now you know - French is really spoken on the VHF radio!

PS - Thanks to Capt. Richard J. Rodriguez for this...

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