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Dangerous Season Ahead

Aurora borealis over the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the Brooks Range.

Aurora borealis over the trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the Brooks Range.

©Patrick Endres / AlaskaStock.com

Mayday, mayday, mayday! The phrase used the world over to signal distress comes to us from the French venez m’aider, which translates to “come help me.” Primarily used in the marine and aviation arena, mayday is any emergency notification indicating grave and imminent danger. There is a certain protocol for using this distress signal, which I’ve illustrated in an example below. We are embarking on a dangerous season.

MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY, this is ALASKA, ALASKA, ALASKA
(Say mayday three times and identify the name of your vessel three times as well.)
 
MAYDAY, MY POSITION IS:
South: 51° 13’ N. at the tip of Amatignak Island in the Aleutian Islands
North: 71° 23’ N. at Point Barrow
East (towards Canada): 129° 59’ W. at Cape Point in Southeast Alaska
West (towards Russia): 172° 27’ E. at Cape Wrangell on Attu Island
(Let them know where to find you, state your GPS latitude and longitude or compass bearing from a well known object.)
 
I AM without meaningful tax relief to ACES, WITH 725,000 PERSONS ON BOARD, I REQUIRE IMMEDIATE ASSISTANCE
(Say what is wrong and let responders know how many people need to be rescued.)

 

Whether anyone hears the distress signal is another matter but keep trying until your last breath—or barrel.

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