Monday, July 30, 2012

How to: how to request an Amver Surface Picture

We thought we would demonstrate how easy it is to request an Amver Surface Picture. We described it in the past, but here's a screen cast on how to request Amver SURPIC information.

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Transcription of the video:

Hi, it's Ben Strong from, and I'd like to share with you today how to request an Amver surface picture. Remember, requesting an Amver surface picture can only be done by rescue coordination centers, but should you be managing a search and rescue case in your region, you can quickly and easily request this information from the US Coast Guard to get a list and a picture of commercial ships that are around that particular distress location. So to request the Amver surface picture, go to, the Amver homepage. There are several options. You can click the red button, "Request a SURPIC," or "SURPIC Request" on the left. We'll use the "Request a SURPIC" radio button on the right, the big red button. Name of Point of Contact--put in the name of the particular search and rescue official who happens to be working there. I'll put my name in. Your e-mail--this is critical, because the information is sent via e-mail unless you specify otherwise. Your organization--this is USCG. You may put your particular rescue coordination center, RCC New York, for example. A phone number, in case our US Coast Guard rescue personnel need to contact you by phone to answer any particular questions. Should you require the infomation by fax, you can enter a fax number as well. We ask a couple of questions, such as the nature of the distress. Maybe it's a fire, flood, capsize. Often it's a 406 EPIRB. You can simply enter 406 EPIRB. The date of the distress is automatically filled with the date that you're making the request. If it's a particular vessel you can put in the name, the vessel call sign, number of persons on board, the type of ship--row row, bulker, cruise ship--gross length and tonnage if known, IMO number, which is helpful to the search and rescue controllers, and an MMSI number should you know that. If there's a particular INMARSAT or other number available for the vessel, you can enter that under the Communications fields. What's critcal is the location of the distress. So we'd like to know the latitude and longitude in Heading North and East. Most Amver surface pictures are given in radius type. There are several products available in the Amver surface picture. The most common, the most frequently requested, is the radius surface picture. So you can put 300 nautical miles, 500 nautical miles, 100 nautical miles. Then, any special instructions. "Vessel master reports that crew has abandoned ship," anything that you think will help the rescue authorities, you can put in the Special Instructions box. The last piece of information that we need is similar to a CAPTCHA code. This just helps us ensure that we're not receiving a request from a robot or a spammer. You'll have to complete this mathematical equation, which of course will be different for every request. Seven plus seven is fourteen. Then, "Request the Amver Surface Picture" is the button that you will push. I just need to make sure that our rescue authorities know that this is a test. We've completed the CAPTCHA question. "Request Amver Surface Picture." Should you make a mistake, the request will recycle back so that you can enter any information that you may have failed to put in the request. In this case, I failed to put in a location and a radius. That's the key to requesting an Amver surface picture. Generally within a few minutes you will receive an e-mail from the US Coast Guard Atlantic Area Command Center with a list and a picture of vessels that are nearest the distress location in your area. I'm Ben Strong from That's how to request an Amver surface picture.

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