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Subelement B
Communications Procedures
Section 11
Urgency and Safety Communications
What is a typical Urgency transmission?
  • Correct Answer
    A request for medical assistance that does not rise to the level of a Distress or a critical weather transmission higher than Safety.
  • A radio Distress transmission affecting the security of humans or property.
  • Health and welfare traffic which impacts the protection of on-board personnel.
  • A communications alert that important personal messages must be transmitted.

What is a typical Urgency transmission?

(A). A request for medical assistance that does not rise to the level of a Distress or a critical weather transmission higher than Safety.

Code of Federal Regulations Title 47 Chapter I Subchapter D Part 80 Subpart A - General Information

47 CFR 80.5 “Urgency signal”

(1) The urgency signal is the international radiotelegraph or radiotelephone signal which indicates that the calling station has a very urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle, or of some person on board or within sight.

(2) In radiotelegraphy, the international urgency signal consists of three repetitions of the group “XXX,” sent before the call, with the letters of each group and the successive groups clearly separated from each other.

(3) In radiotelephony, the international urgency signal consists of three oral repetitions of the group of words “PAN PAN”, each word of the group pronounced as the French word “PANNE” and sent before the call.

(4) For GMDSS, urgency calls result in an audible alarm and visual indication that the station sending this signal has a very urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle, or of some person on board or within sight.

Title 47 Chapter I Subchapter D Part 80 Subpart
C Operating Procedures - General

47 CFR § 80.91 - Order of priority of communications.

47 CFR 80.91(a) All stations in the maritime mobile service and the maritime mobile-satellite service shall be capable of offering four levels of priority in the following order:

(1) Distress calls, distress messages, and distress traffic.
(2) Urgency communications.
(3) Safety communications.
(4) Other communications.

47 CFR 80.91(b) In a fully automated system, where it is impracticable to offer all four levels of priority, category 1 shall receive priority until such time as intergovernmental agreements remove exemptions granted for such systems from offering the complete order of priority.

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What is the internationally recognized Urgency signal?
  • The letters “TTT” transmitted three times by radiotelegraphy.
  • Correct Answer
    The words “PAN PANspoken three times before the Urgency call.
  • Three oral repetitions of the word “Safety” sent before the call.
  • The pronouncement of the word “Mayday.”

What is the internationally recognized Urgency signal?

(B). The words “PAN PAN” spoken three times before the Urgency call.

Internationally-recognised signals are as follows:

For more info, please see Wikipedia's article on Distress signal

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What is a Safety transmission?
  • Correct Answer
    A communications transmission which indicates that a station is preparing to transmit an important navigation or weather warning.
  • A radiotelephony warning preceded by the words “PAN PAN.”
  • Health and welfare traffic concerning the protection of human life.
  • A voice call proceeded by the words “Safety Alert.”

What is a Safety transmission?

(A). A communications transmission which indicates that a station is preparing to transmit an important navigation or weather warning.

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47 Chapter I Subchapter D Part 80 Subpart G - Safety Watch Requirements and Procedures

§ 80.329 Safety signals and messages.

47 CFR 80.329(a) The safety signal indicates that the station is about to transmit a message concerning the safety of navigation or giving important meteorological warnings.

47 CFR 80.329(b) In radiotelegraphy, the safety signal consists of three repetitions of the group TTT, sent with the individual letters of each group, and the successive groups clearly separated from each other. It must be sent before the call.

47 CFR 80.329(c) In radiotelephony, the safety signal consists of the word SECURITE, pronounced as in French, spoken three times and transmitted before the call.

47 CFR 80.329(d) The safety signal and call must be sent on one of the international distress frequencies (2182 kHz or 156.8 MHz radiotelephone). Stations which cannot transmit on a distress frequency may use any other available frequency on which attention might be attracted.

47 CFR 80.329(e) The safety signal and call must be followed by the safety message. Where practicable, the safety message should be sent on a working frequency, and a suitable announcement to this effect must be made at the end of the call.

47 CFR 80.329(f) Messages about meteorological warnings, of cyclones, dangerous ice, dangerous wrecks, or any other imminent danger to marine navigation must be preceded by the safety signal.

47 CFR 80.329(g) Stations hearing the safety signal must not make any transmission likely to interfere with the message.

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The Urgency signal concerning the safety of a ship, aircraft or person shall be sent only on the authority of:
  • Master of ship.
  • Person responsible for mobile station.
  • Correct Answer
    Either Master of ship or person responsible for mobile station.
  • An FCC-licensed operator.

The Urgency signal concerning the safety of a ship, aircraft or person shall be sent only on the authority of:

(C). Either Master of ship or person responsible for mobile station.

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47 Chapter I Subchapter D Part 80 Subpart
G Distress, Alarm, Urgency and Safety Procedures

§ 80.327 Urgency signals and messages.

47 CFR 80.327(a) The urgency signal indicates that the calling station has a very urgent message to transmit concerning the safety of a ship, aircraft, or other vehicle, or the safety of a person. The urgency signal must be sent only on the authority of the master or person responsible for the mobile station.

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The Urgency signal has lower priority than:
  • Ship-to-ship routine calls.
  • Correct Answer
    Distress.
  • Safety.
  • Security.

The Urgency signal has lower priority than:

(B). Distress.

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47 Chapter I Subchapter D Part 80 Subpart
G Distress, Alarm, Urgency and Safety Procedures

§ 80.327 Urgency signals and messages.

47 CFR § 80.327(d) The urgency signal has priority over all other communications except distress. All mobile and land stations which hear it must not interfere with the transmission of the message which follows the urgency signal.

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47 Chapter I Subchapter D Part 80 Subpart
C - Operating Requirements and Procedures

§ 80.91 - Order of priority of communications.

47 CFR 80.91(a) All stations in the maritime mobile service and the maritime mobile-satellite service shall be capable of offering four levels of priority in the following order:

  • (1) Distress calls, distress messages, and distress traffic.
  • (2) Urgency communications.
  • (3) Safety communications.
  • (4) Other communications.

47 CFR 80.91(b) In a fully automated system, where it is impracticable to offer all four levels of priority, category 1 shall receive priority until such time as intergovernmental agreements remove exemptions granted for such systems from offering the complete order of priority.

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What safety signal call word is spoken three times, followed by the station call letters spoken three times, to announce a storm warning, danger to navigation, or special aid to navigation?
  • PAN PAN.
  • MAYDAY.
  • SAFETY.
  • Correct Answer
    SECURITE.

What safety signal call word is spoken three times, followed by the station call letters spoken three times, to announce a storm warning, danger to navigation, or special aid to navigation?

(D). SECURITE.

Internationally-recognised signals are as follows:

For more info, please see Wikipedia's article on Distress signal

Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47 Chapter I Subchapter D Part 80 Subpart
G Distress, Alarm, Urgency and Safety Procedures

§ 80.329 Safety signals and messages.

47 CFR 80.329(a) The safety signal indicates that the station is about to transmit a message concerning the safety of navigation or giving important meteorological warnings.

47 CFR 80.329(b) In radiotelegraphy, the safety signal consists of three repetitions of the group TTT, sent with the individual letters of each group, and the successive groups clearly separated from each other. It must be sent before the call.

47 CFR 80.329(c) In radiotelephony, the safety signal consists of the word SECURITE, pronounced as in French, spoken three times and transmitted before the call.

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