An SOS distress signal.

An SOS is an old Earth distress signal. Morse code for SOS "···­­­ −−− ···".

It stood for Save Our Ship, and was transmitted when a seagoing vessel was in dire need of help. On Earth in the 19th century, the nearest ship was legally obligated to render assistance. (TOS novel: The Fearful Summons)

The abbreviation was a mnemonic intended to recall three quick bursts, three slower bursts, then three more quick bursts. (NF novel: Blind Man's Bluff)

The system continued to be used in some form into the 24th century.


In 2266, a continuous SOS was picked up by the USS Enterprise from Miri's homeworld. (TOS episode & Star Trek 1 novelization: Miri)

In the 2260s, a missing survey ship's continuous SOS was picked up by Nyota Uhura aboard the USS Enterprise along with its call sign. Unfortunately the vessel had crashed on Taunus and the crew died before they could be rescued. (TOS comic: "The Aging World")

In the 2260s, the Janvar Five space probe transmitted an SOS. (TOS comic: "The Mindless Ones")

In 2267, the SS Botany Bay transmitted an SOS. When answered, the onboard computer switched to signaling the vessel's name. (TOS - Star Trek 2 novelization: Space Seed)

In 2370, Captain Dawson of the USS Puyallup instructed his crew to send an SOS to Deep Space 9 when his ship came under attack. (DS9 novel: Devil in the Sky)

It is quite possible SOS was being used as a generic term for a more contemporary distress call system used in the 24th century.

In 2371, the USS Voyager picked up an SOS call from Amelia Earhart's plane in the Delta Quadrant. (VOY episode: "The 37's")



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