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Old 06-10-2015, 18:48   #1
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Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

When we go offshore we always have a ditch bag ready to go and within easy reach. Everyone on board (even guests) are required to know where it is.

In our ditch bag we have:
MREs (meals ready to eat)
canned/bagged fresh water
mirror
cell phone with solar charger and Navionics app installed for navigation (with the charts of the area we are sailing at that time preinstalled)
water distiller
towel or cloth for shade
collapsible pole spear
whistle
flares
knife
EPIRB
glow sticks

What are some things that you include in your ditch bag and why?
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Old 06-10-2015, 19:17   #2
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

Our life raft has extras in to keep the grab bag small, but there are other essentials for us that we keep in the bag on passage:
First Aid Kit
Torch
Passports & Ships documentation
Spare glasses and contact lens
Medication
Small fishing kit
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Old 06-10-2015, 19:24   #3
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

A volley ball. Just in case I get stuck on a deserted island.
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Old 06-10-2015, 19:38   #4
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

I also keep several strobes and a supply of LION batteries for them. They last longer than flares and talking to CG Search pilots they claim at night they can see them better at greater distances.


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Old 07-10-2015, 09:07   #5
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

10w laser
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Old 07-10-2015, 10:38   #6
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

Too things that I have as "must haves" are not on the list. A handheld (floatable) VHF, and a handheld floating GPS. I am going to add a AIS personal transmitter, like the ones used in MOB. Rather than carry water, I carry a hand pump water watermaker.

Large ships and aircraft often cannot see you. But they have their VHF on. And the GPS can give you coordinates so they can find you immediately.
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Old 07-10-2015, 16:56   #7
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

A small flask with 18yr old scotch in it...
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Old 07-10-2015, 19:17   #8
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

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Originally Posted by rosatte View Post
A small flask with 18yr old scotch in it...
The Macallan
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Old 08-10-2015, 09:06   #9
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

As a general rule: What you have on you is what you will have with you.
How about some floatation? Do you carry a life raft? The ditch kit should have two functions. Use from the water and use in a life raft.
Because it may not be possible to always get to your life raft, you should be prepared to sit in the water until help arrives.
BoutUS did an article a while back where they tested different life vests, both foam vests and inflatables. One of the findings from the testers was how well the belt pack inflatables worked, even in rough seas.
I would recommend placing as many of these belt packs as you normally crew in the ditch bag. They are only 5" x 9" packed, and they will provide 35 lbs. of buoyancy.

You can not have too many signals. I sell a signal kit that carries a ACR ResQLink, Rescue Laser Flare, Signal Mirror, Whistle, and 20 ft. of type III Nylon Line. All in a 5" x 3" molle pouch that will attach to your belt. This would come in handy even without a ditch bag or life raft.

Water survival is not about how long you can stay alive, it's about how soon you can be rescued.
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Old 09-10-2015, 04:13   #10
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

Quote:
Originally Posted by hogHunter View Post
When we go offshore we always have a ditch bag ready to go and within easy reach. Everyone on board (even guests) are required to know where it is.

In our ditch bag we have:
MREs (meals ready to eat)
canned/bagged fresh water
mirror
cell phone with solar charger and Navionics app installed for navigation (with the charts of the area we are sailing at that time preinstalled)
water distiller
towel or cloth for shade
collapsible pole spear
whistle
flares
knife
EPIRB
glow sticks

What are some things that you include in your ditch bag and why?
We list the contents of our ditch bag under the checklists menu on our blog. I can't copy paste it here because it's in a chart format, so I'm attaching a screenshot of the beginning of the chart and you can get the full grab bag/ditch bag list from svGoldenGlow dot com under checklists. We identify which items are life raft and which are in our extra ditch bag
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Old 09-10-2015, 08:01   #11
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

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Originally Posted by EllesBelles View Post
We list the contents of our ditch bag under the checklists menu on our blog. I can't copy paste it here because it's in a chart format, so I'm attaching a screenshot of the beginning of the chart and you can get the full grab bag/ditch bag list from svGoldenGlow dot com under checklists. We identify which items are life raft and which are in our extra ditch bag
Nice website ElleBelles
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Old 09-10-2015, 09:14   #12
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

The one thing you absolutely should have, and no one has even bothered to research, are containers. Empty containers for trapping water. Do your homework. Read up on people who have survived and stock accordingly
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Old 09-10-2015, 10:40   #13
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

Before we made the Pacific Puddle Jump in 2011, we attended several seminars hosted by the Vallarta Yacht Club. The most relevant and interesting was given by a woman charter boat captain whose boat hit a whale and quickly sank. She gave a fascinating blow-by-blow account of the ordeal but fortunately her passengers and she were rescued without injuries.

One of the more poignant points that she made was the fact that the ditch bag promptly sank after they threw it into the water, despite its buit-in floatation. Also, she said that if she hadn't had the presence of mind to bring a handheld VHF, the US Coast Guard helicopter might have missed them altogether, even though they had their exact coordinates.

We now keep a spare inflatable PFD inside our ditch bag and have the 'rip cord' hanging outside of the zipper. Our two handheld VHFs are stored in an outside pocket of the ditch bag (one is the Standard Horizon Hx870 with a built-in GPS) and we keep AA battery trays (with plenty of spare batteries) for both handhelds inside the ditch bag. High on our check list for offshore passages is a careful inspection of the contents of the ditch bag.

Fair winds and calm seas.
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Old 29-02-2016, 15:23   #14
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

NH,
Very clever idea about the inflatable pfd inside the ditch bag. How would one keep the inflating PFD from tearing the seams/zipper of the ditch bag, scattering the contents to the sea? I've considered lining the ditch bag with bubble wrap or closed cell foam, both of which could be reused to provide some insulation if you have a single floor raft. Clearly we need to fill our bags and then test to make sure they float well!
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Old 29-02-2016, 16:20   #15
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Re: Ditch Bag Essentials for the Modern Sailor

I can't believe that someone in an emergency situation would be so foolish to just throw the ditch bag over the side into the water. If I ever have to abandon ship I can guarantee that I would have a vice like grip on mine.

While a well stocked ditch bag is absolutely essential you can also greatly increase your chances of survival for you & your crew by following some prudent on board rules.

Falling overboard is one of the most common & feared occurrences that offshore sailors face and your ditch bag is not going to help you in this situation. I always wear my personal epirb along with a knife & Leatherman on a belt on EVERY SAILING TRIP even the short ones & not just passages. There is also an onboard rule for everyone to wear life jackets, which are all equipped with double crotch straps, at night & also when the wind is over 25 knots during daylight hours.

There are no doubt many tens of thousands of personal epirbs in circulation but the percentage of sailors who actually wear them is extremely small. One thing I can guarantee if you do own one and you go over the side while not wearing it is that it will certainly flash into your mind because it is in your sailing bag down below.

If you own one, start wearing it! It is not going to save you in your sailing bag.


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