A distress signal is an internationally recognized means of obtaining help by displaying a visual object or making noise from a distance.

The most famous distress signal is the Morse code group SOS, which is sent as di' di' dit dah dah dah di' di' dit, ...---.... This is often sent with no spacing between the S and the Os.

Another distress signal is the code word Mayday. Do not use the keyword MAYDAY unless you are aboard a vessel or aircraft which is in immediate danger of sinking or crashing.

One common distress signal is any unusual action repeated in groups of three. This could be three puffs of smoke (by covering and uncovering a campfire), three gunshots, and so on.

Other distress signals are primarily for use in rural or isolated areas, or in the wilderness. Survival training includes ground to air signals that can be used to signal passing aircraft with flares, mirrors or marks made on the ground or snow. Do not use these signals except in an actual emergency and DESTROY THEM when you are rescued. Pilotss will take extreme risks to locate and report what they believe to be an emergency signal from the ground.

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See also: call for help.