If you have an emergency situation, have everyone put on lifejackets or PFDs and issue a MAYDAY call or Pan-Pan call on Channel 16.
- MAYDAY calls are used for life-threatening emergencies.
- Pan-Pan calls (pronounced "pahn-pahn") are used for urgent situations that are not life-threatening such as your pleasure craft is broken down, out of gas, or lost in fog.
Channel 16 is a calling and distress channel only and should not be used for conversation or radio checks. It can be used to make contact with another station (boat), but the communication then should move to a non-emergency channel.
Penalties exist for misuse of a radio, including improper use of VHF Channel 16. It is against Canadian law to send false messages or distress signals on a radio or other devices. If you are found guilty of doing so, you could face up to two years in prison.