Maritime SOS signal obsolete as of today : LUSENET : TitanicShack : One Thread

The United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO) has implemented the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS): "essentially a worldwide network of automated emergency communications for ships at sea"

I've read over the GMDSS primer on the IMO website, and basically the new system uses satellite (Inmarsat) terminals onboard ship, and downlink stations to coordinate search and rescue. Overall, the system is a good idea, with the following caveats:

In 1996, it was estimated that more than 90 % of distress alerts through some sub-systems were false.

One of the main reasons for false distress alerts is improper use of GMDSS equipment by untrained personnel and the lack of practical experience on board ships by trained personnel. But another factor that has caused concern is the equipment itself, some of which has been criticized as "over complicated and un-user friendly."

[ ... ]
on a ship fitted with GMDSS equipment, the master and officers must be trained to use it and to use it properly

[ ... ] (about older technologies)
VHF Channel 16 by SOLAS ships at sea should be continued after 1 February 1999.

-- Thomas M. Terashima (, February 01, 1999

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