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47 U.S. Code § 321 - Distress signals and communications; equipment on vessels; regulations

The transmitting set in a radio station on shipboard may be adjusted in such a manner as to produce a maximum of radiation, irrespective of the amount of interference which may thus be caused, when such station is sending radio communications or signals of distress and radio communications relating thereto.
All radio stations, including Government stations and stations on board foreign vessels when within the territorial waters of the United States, shall give absolute priority to radio communications or signals relating to ships in distress; shall cease all sending on frequencies which will interfere with hearing a radio communication or signal of distress, and, except when engaged in answering or aiding the ship in distress, shall refrain from sending any radio communications or signals until there is assurance that no interference will be caused with the radio communications or signals relating thereto, and shall assist the vessel in distress, so far as possible, by complying with its instructions.
(June 19, 1934, ch. 652, title III, § 321, 48 Stat. 1090; May 20, 1937, ch. 229, § 7, 50 Stat. 191.)
Editorial Notes

1937—Subsec. (a). Act May 20, 1937, struck out provisions which required radio stations on shipboard to be equipped to transmit radio communications or signals of distress on the frequency specified by the Commission, with apparatus capable of transmitting and receiving messages over a distance of at least 100 miles by day or night.