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February/March 2013

Pack a bag

Preparing for the unexpected

Pack a bag. Photo courtest ACR/ARTEX

Boaters should carry a ditch bag packed with all the supplies they’ll need if the unthinkable happens and they have to abandon ship.

Consider packing the following items:

  • a registered 406 MHz EPIRB (emergency position-indicating rescue beacon) that will broadcast your location to rescuers
  • handheld VHF radio (waterproof or in a sealed pouch, with extra batteries)
  • flares (both parachute and handheld) and smoke signals
  • strobe light (may be with inflatable PFD); a strobe and flashlight combo is ideal.
  • whistle (may be with inflatable PFD)
  • signal mirror
  • water (individually sealed emergency water packets are better than a jug), as much as you have room for
  • prescription medications
  • first-aid kit
  • patch kit for inflatable dinghy or life raft (or emergency clamps)
  • knife (preferably with rounded rather than pointed tip if in a raft)
  • handheld GPS (to communicate position by VHF or cell phone)
  • solar blanket (in cold climates)
  • sunscreen
  • paper and pen in plastic zipper bag
  • spare prescription glasses, sunglasses (polarized to reduce glare)
  • small pair of binoculars (to confirm a boat or plane spotting before using flares)
  • additional survival items if traveling far offshore
  • other items depending on space and needs

 

  

 

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