We were on our way from West Mersea toward the Spitway last Thursday when we heard what thought was an extraordinary misuse of the mayday procedure. Bearing in mind that I didn't hear the original call so there may be missing information, it appears that the yacht -- , a 32' yacht with 4 persons aboard had run aground somewhere near the Barrow No 3 buoy and issued a mayday call. It appeared that there was no structural damage to the yacht and that she was not taking on water. Now, this was late morning and low water at the Spitway was about mid-day, and it was virtually windless, so what was the imminent threat to the vessel or life and limb in this situation? After about 40 minutes -- reported that she had refloated and was proceeding at 5 knots toward her original destination. By this time, a rescue helicopter was overhead and the coastguard had requested the Walton lifeboat to attend. To add to what must have been, by now a pretty humiliating situation for --'s skipper, the coastguard insisted on hourly reporting by VHF. Now, there are two questions here. Firstly, the seamanship of --'s skipper in making a mayday call in these circumstances when it could reasonably be anticipated that he would float off with no damage in less than an hour, which she did, and what seems to have been an over-reaction of the part of the coastguard. It was of note that the coastguard didn't seem to be sure if he was Thames or Humber, so I do wonder whether local coastguards at Walton might have had a better grip on the situation, before it was closed down. Anyway, I might have got this completely wrong, but it seemed to me a colossal waste of time and resources.