What does Mayday mean?

What is the difference between SOS and Mayday? How did Mayday come to be used as a distress call?
What does Mayday mean?
  1. What precisely does Mayday mean?

    Mayday is one word that any ship captain or pilot would never want to use in their career. When a life-threatening situation is about to come up ahead, then ‘Mayday’ is intentionally used as an Emergency Procedure Word as a distress signal in radio communications.

  2. Whose idea was it?

    Frederick Mockford was the man behind this idea. He was the senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London. He introduced this word and came up with this idea by referencing the French word m’aider that means ‘Help Me.’

  3. When are Mayday calls used?

    Mayday calls are used for life-threatening emergencies. Suppose a pilot or a ship captain gets on his radio call “mayday, mayday, mayday”. In that case, it means the plane or the ship is in acute danger of crashing to the ground or having an accident due to unforeseen circumstances.

  4. What to do when Mayday is used?

    If the pilot or ship captain uses this word, it implies the emergency has emerged, because of which all people are asked to put on their life jackets or PFDs and issue a Pan-Pan call or Mayday call on Channel 16.

  5. What is Mayday Relay?

    Mayday Relay is when one vessel or an aircraft sends a Mayday distress signal on behalf of the other vessel or aircraft in severe danger. This action is extremely crucial when one ship or aircraft loses radio communications. (See What does the Expression Ten-Four Mean?)

  6. When was the first international distress call made?

    The first Mayday call was made in 1923. However, it was made official in 1948 by Fredrick Mockford.

  7. No one should take Mayday calling lightly!

    In many countries, especially the United States, if anyone makes a fake Mayday call, you can get imprisoned for up to 6 years or bear the fine of up to $250,000. (See What does telling Siri “17” do?)

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