It is important to have a Ditch Bag when boating off shore. This bag should be easily accessible and ready to take with you over board or in any emergency. A rescue might take more than a couple of minutes. The items in this bag will help you survive or make you time of emergency bearable. No list can be considered complete, so add what you can think of. Having the bag with you is definitely a piece of mind. I hope I never have to Ditch, but glad to know I am prepared.
What’s in my Ditch Bag?
- EPIRB (Electronic Positioning Indicating Radio Beacon) is a tracking transmitter, which aids in the location of boats in distress. When activated, the signal is picked up by satellites and your position is sent to rescuers.
- Floating VHF Handheld. To call and talk with other boats (line of site) or communicate with rescuers. Make sure it is charged.
- Waterproof GPS. Good to know where you are at all times.
- Paper Charts.
- Waterproof Flashlight – Used to Signal.
- Mylar blanket – very compact.
- Can of tunafish and/or power bars.
- Sunblock & Mosquito repellent
- Hat or Cap – 50% of your body heat will leave from your Head
- First Aid Kit. The ability to disinfect and close an open wound might save someone’s life. Aspirins are used to treat heart attacks victims, Benadryl could help allergy symptoms.
- Prescription Medication
- Knife, Swiss Army Knife (has other tools).
- Matches in waterproof container.
- Paper and Pencil
- Silicon tape – excellent to make emergency repairs or even as a tourniquet.
- Line or rope – can keep the crew together should a lifeboat not be available.
- Smoke or Signal Flares
- Money, Credit Card, Passport, ID
- Whistle, Mouth or Canister Fog horn – great to attract rescue personnel in poor visibility.
- Extra Batteries
- Signal Mirror – Can be seen for miles
- Strobe light
- Fishing Kit
- Zip Lock Bags
Please add things as needed. Even if you drive a PWC, boat or an ocean going vessel, you should have some or all of this equipment. Take a Boating Safety Course.
Captain Rick Mendez