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Old 21-03-2014, 12:22   #1
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the basics for survival?

I first read Steven Callahan's book Adrift as a teenager and ever since then, whenever I hear or read "life-raft" I immediately think "life-or-death-raft" and a chill runs down my back and I involuntarily shudder.

The term has come up in my life recently which has got me thinking in that way it always does whenever I hear it and I am curious to know what people are packing in their bail-out-bags these days?
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Old 21-03-2014, 12:55   #2
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Re: the basics for survival?

I suspect you'll find people carry less food and flares and a lot more electronics.
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Old 21-03-2014, 13:30   #3
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Re: the basics for survival?

I expect a DSC hand-held and an EPIRB at a minimum.

Would you consider a back-up Spot just for your bag? I have heard of people adding items to their raft when they have it repacked, do you put your back-up Spot inside the raft?

How about an iPod shuffle loaded with loaded with books-on-tape like the SAS Survival Guide? 2GB of info that weighs 12.5 grams and is .35 cu. inches? I hear it can get pretty boring waiting for rescue, not kidding.

Probably illegal in the manner you might want to use it, if you were stuck in a life raft, but how about a laser pointer? Do you have room for something like that?
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Old 21-03-2014, 13:40   #4
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Re: the basics for survival?

I believe it would take one of the high power green lasers, legality wise, I don't think it would be illegal as a real emergency exists. Laser "flares" do exist I believe, but I don't know how effective they are
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Old 21-03-2014, 13:41   #5
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Re: the basics for survival?

Here is my inventory list from my ditch bag:
  • Documentation: Passports, Dog Paper Work, Boat Documentation
  • VHF Radio
  • Handheld GPS
  • Spare Batteries
  • Hand Bearing Compass
  • Large scale chart of the area (all east coast, all Caribbean, etc.)
  • Space blankets
  • Plastic drop cloth (catch rain water)
  • Duct tape
  • Flashlight (Solar & Shake)
  • Protein bars & Beef Jerky
  • 500 ft of paracord
  • Fishing hooks
  • Friendly Swede Survival Grenade
  • Cutting Board
  • Multi Tools & Knives
  • waterproof matches
  • Aluminum foil
  • (2) Hooded ponchos
  • (2) Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Electrical wire
  • Electrical tape
  • Towels & a sponge
  • Purell
  • Gloves, 2 pair
  • (2) Water bottles
  • Potable Water Purification Tablets
  • Life Straw
  • Distress kit - Whistle - Mirror - signal flag - (2) Handheld flares - (2)Aerial flares - Flare gun with (4) flares
  • First Aid Kit - Gauze/Tape/Neosporin - Benedryl - Ibuprofen - Chapstick - sea sick medicine - Dog first aid kit
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Old 21-03-2014, 13:42   #6
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Re: the basics for survival?

Quote:
Originally Posted by a64pilot View Post
I believe it would take one of the high power green lasers, legality wise, I don't think it would be illegal as a real emergency exists. Laser "flares" do exist I believe, but I don't know how effective they are
Given your experience, do you know if IR is more observable than visible light when looking through NVG?
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Old 21-03-2014, 14:19   #7
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Re: the basics for survival?

I'm giving serious thought to some sort of kite sail.

My preferred escape option is a decent sized, unsinkable hard dinghy with a canopy, and I would like to be able to have a fighting chance of relocating it to somewhere more suitable to being rescued,

and/or (if being swept towards a somewhere not conducive to survival) to exert some influence on the course over ground.

IF there's one thing less edifying than passively sitting there expecting to be rescued, it's passively sitting there expecting not to be rescued.

Expecting to be bashed into small pieces is less edifying still, and I've done about as much of that as I ever want to.


A kite sail seems to me a lot more practicable than a sailing rig in a challenging 'abandon ship' situation, and I think I could live with the limitations.
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Old 21-03-2014, 14:27   #8
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Re: the basics for survival?

You mean something like a FRIB? What are you going to take with you when you get in it?
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Old 21-03-2014, 14:56   #9
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Re: the basics for survival?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
Given your experience, do you know if IR is more observable than visible light when looking through NVG?

IR would be yes, but red is the color that NVG's see very strongly, where green they see very little. Has to do with the sensitivity of the goggles, so a not so very powerful red laser pointer would be much brighter to a set of goggles than a very powerful green one. NVG's see light to the left of the spectrum, I believe the near infra red?

ALL NVG compatible cockpits are lit with blue / green lights, Red cockpit lights shut down the goggles.

IR sources like IR chemsticks are useful only for covert operations, not for rescue. I would not use an IR source light an IR LED for example
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Old 21-03-2014, 15:11   #10
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Re: the basics for survival?

Thanks for that. Link to a laser flare below, 20 miles optimal nighttime, 1-3 miles daytime, 72 hrs continuous operation with two AA batteries.

Rescue Laser Flare® Magnum | Greatland Laser
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Old 21-03-2014, 15:16   #11
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Re: the basics for survival?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Delancey View Post
You mean something like a FRIB? What are you going to take with you when you get in it?
Thanks a lot, Delancey, I hadn't come across that one. Some interesting ideas there.

What I would take would be very situational. I'm thinking in terms of a multi-tier snatchpack hierarchy, where pack A is ALWAYS taken, with EPIRB, flares etc.
Packs B and C might be repacked depending on the situation. Pack D too, and it might be optional if time and space permit

Obviously water (and a hand desalinator) is crucial in any except monsoon situations.

Food might be particularly important in a non-productive ocean, if far from rescue....

- - - - -

I don't give much thought to electronics because today's 'must-have' is forgotten tech tomorrow, so that needs to be decided when the time comes.

Philosophically, I don't personally think of any passive rescue aids as a 'must-have'.

I'm not convinced that the outsourced life is a life worth living.
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Old 21-03-2014, 15:17   #12
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Re: the basics for survival?

The little laser would be a great idea.... hard for a freighter pilot whose reading Playboy all night to ignore that green spot flashing around the bridge....
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Old 21-03-2014, 15:42   #13
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Re: the basics for survival?

I tend to agree that self-rescue is the best option whenever possible. Steven Callahan's FRIB is a great idea, I link below to a page about it on the Pardey's website.

For myself, I am planning a nesting dinghy that rows and sails with an add-on canopy but I think we will likely equip our boat with a life raft as well. In the meantime, we're going across the pond with a friend this summer and I have made myself in charge of the bag, hence my inquiry.

I think JK and Smitty's list is a pretty good starting point. Can't say I am a huge fan of electronics in general but I think to ignore them would be imprudent, but not any more so than depending your life on them.

An Easy to Store, Combination Hard Bottomed Dinghy/Life Boat | Lin & Larry Pardey: Newsletters & Cruising Tips
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Old 21-03-2014, 16:15   #14
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Re: the basics for survival?

Quote:
Originally Posted by JK n Smitty View Post
Here is my inventory list from my ditch bag:
  • Documentation: Passports, Dog Paper Work, Boat Documentation
  • VHF Radio
  • Handheld GPS
  • Spare Batteries
  • Hand Bearing Compass
  • Large scale chart of the area (all east coast, all Caribbean, etc.)
  • Space blankets
  • Plastic drop cloth (catch rain water)
  • Duct tape
  • Flashlight (Solar & Shake)
  • Protein bars & Beef Jerky
  • 500 ft of paracord
  • Fishing hooks
  • Friendly Swede Survival Grenade
  • Cutting Board
  • Multi Tools & Knives
  • waterproof matches
  • Aluminum foil
  • (2) Hooded ponchos
  • (2) Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Electrical wire
  • Electrical tape
  • Towels & a sponge
  • Purell
  • Gloves, 2 pair
  • (2) Water bottles
  • Potable Water Purification Tablets
  • Life Straw
  • Distress kit - Whistle - Mirror - signal flag - (2) Handheld flares - (2)Aerial flares - Flare gun with (4) flares
  • First Aid Kit - Gauze/Tape/Neosporin - Benedryl - Ibuprofen - Chapstick - sea sick medicine - Dog first aid kit
Towels are very important, you never know when there's a passing Vogon ship

Dave
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Old 21-03-2014, 16:51   #15
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Re: the basics for survival?

Quote:
Originally Posted by goboatingnow View Post
Towels are very important, you never know when there's a passing Vogon ship

Dave

+100 for the reference to the Hitch Hicker's Guide to the Universe
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