Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Did You Know: Why Mayday is Used in an Emergency?


Photo Credit:

Here’s the week at a glance
at the Nyack Library.


  • LEGO Builders, 4:30p
  • FREE Assistance with NYS Health Insurance Programs, 5p


  • Cuentos y Canciones, 1p
  • Teen Craft, Registration required, 6p


  • Introduction to Watercolor, Registration required, 10a
  • Fiction Book Discussion Group, 7p


Toddler Time, 11a


  • Sensory Story Time, Registration required, 11a
  • Creative Writing Saturdays, Registration required, 1p


  • Study Sundays, 12p
  • Artist Reception – Marisol Diaz, 2p

If a ship is sinking or a airplane is in distress, the captain or pilot is likely to radio Mayday, Mayday, Mayday! to get help. However, it has nothing to do with the month of May. Or any word in the English language.
Mayday is the word used internationally to make a distress call in radio communications.  It signals a life-threatening emergency, usually on a ship or a plane, but it may be used in other situations.  In an emergency, the word is traditionally repeated three times, i.e., Mayday, Mayday, Mayday to distinguish it from any similar sounding phrases in a noisy situation.
The word Mayday came from the French word m’aider which means help me.  In 1923, Frederick Stanley Mockford, a senior radio officer at Croydon Airport in London, was asked to come up with a word that would indicate an emergency for pilots and ground staff.  At the time, most of the air traffic he dealt with was between London and Paris, so he chose Mayday because of its similar sound to m’aider.  Four years later, the International Radiotelegraph convention of Washington made Mayday the official voice distress call.
In a situation where a ship or plane requires assistance, but is not in grave danger, a distress call of Pan-pan is used instead.  It comes from the French word panne, which means broken/failure/breakdown.  It also is traditional to repeat it three times.  It means help is needed but it is less urgent than a Mayday call.
Introduction to Watercolor presented by Janice Baragwanath, Wed at 10a
Nyack artist Janice Baragwanath is offering a free hands-on workshop on the versatile medium of watercolor for students of all levels of experience.  Learn about the various materials, such as the texture and thickness of paper, preferred brushes and the most appropriate paints for realistic painting.  Various techniques will be demonstrated including applying a wash, saving lights and creating texture as well as how and why to stretch paper and how to transfer a drawing.  This class will be part lecture, part demo, and part hands–on.  Students do not need to bring anything, but note taking is encouraged.  Registration is required.

Have a question or a fun fact you want to know? We’re looking for suggestions for our weekly Did You Know fact. Write to info@NyackNewsAndViews with your suggestions.
Did You Know comes to you each Monday on NyackNewAndViews, sponsored by the Nyack Library.

Nyack Farmer's Market

You May Also Like

The Villages

This week in the Villages we look at the rumor-filled and then abrupt ending of Starbucks in Nyack and what it means.

The Villages

This week in the Villages, we look delve into all the empty storefronts downtown and look back at St. Patrick's Day festivities through the...

The Villages

This week in the Villages, we take a closer look at Nyack's school board election and more.