(SMC): The suitably trained or qualified official temporarily assigned to coordinate a response to a distress situation. In Australia, the acronym SARMC is also used in some jurisdictions. Some jurisdictions also use the term A/SARMC to describe the SMC's assistants.

Related Terms


Global Maritime Distress and Safety System a global communications service based upon automated systems, both satellite and terrestrial, to provide distress alerting and promulgation of maritime safety information for mariners


Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon a device that transmits distress alerting signals via satellites (406 MHz using COSPAS-SARSAT, 1 6 GHz using INMARSAT) and aircraft homing signals on 121 5 MHz


A satellite system designed to detect distress beacons transmitting on the frequency 406 MHz


To evacuate a vessel from crew and passengers following a distress


A radio signal (GMDSS) from a distressed vessel automatically directed to a RCC giving position, identification, course and speed of the vessel as well as the nature of distress


Case of death or serious injury to a person in an accident or shipping disaster, also said of a distressed vessel

Safety NET

INMARSAT service for promulgating MSI to ships on the high seas, it includes shore-to-ship relays of distress alerts and communications for SAR coordination


A defined area under the Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) which regulates certain safety and communication equipment necessary according to the area of the ship’s operations. Sea Area A-1 is within coverage of VHF coast radio stations (25-30 miles) providing digital selective calling. Sea Area A-2 is within range of the medium frequency coast radio stations (to approximately 300 miles). Sea Area A-3 is within the footprint of the geostationary INMARSA T communications satellites, covering the rest of the open seas except the poles. Sea Area A-4 covers the rest of the earth, chiefly the polar areas. The areas do not overlap.


1. As applied to electronics, any transmitted electrical impulse 2. That which conveys intelligence in any form of communication, such as a time signal or a distress signal.


As defined by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) a ship’s transmitter to be used exclusively on a distress frequency for distress, urgency or safety purposes.

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