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Old 24-06-2016, 17:25   #31
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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Originally Posted by Dockhead View Post
Man, I keep fresh rocket flares in both of my rafts.
Two life rafts? Wow, that's taking redundancy to the next level. A life raft for your life raft.

Having just qualified my boat for an NZ CAT1 clearance, I found their recommended grab bag woefully inadequate. Having said that, some of the recommendations in this thread seem a little top- heavy too. For example as the EPIRB has already advised the SAR world of your dilemma and exact position why would you want another piece tracking equipment of questionable survivability as well? Even the average Iridium phone will last just minutes if it gets wet. In a grab bag it just takes up space and adds weight. Rather take the equivalent in high-energy bars.

On the subject of expiry dates, they are (to me) are a marketing tool that the manufacturers have sold to the the SAR authorities world-wide to amazing effect.

1) Required replacement of flares: 42 months max. I have fired many flares, both hand-held and aerial, some older than ten years and have yet to have one misfire. I have several of each in the grab bag.

2) EPIRB: I replaced mine for the CAT1 - the old one is now four years out of date and the test cycle still functions as it always has. It now lives in my grab bag in case the primary (new) one is ineffectual.

3) Life jacket inflation cylinders: CAT1 requires new cylinders for every inspection despite even the manufacturer stating that the cylinder unused (unless corroded) will far and away out-last the inflatable jacket itself. Luckily, the brand I use has no date info on the cylinder so I just report them as new.

Imagine the manufacturer saying "Oh, by the way, your new BMW 760Li expires in 42 months". Bet they wouldn't sell a lot of those.

We carry an Iridium phone on board and I must say, it works flawlessly, way better than any radio. But is not "survival gear". And it is not cheap
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Old 24-06-2016, 18:07   #32
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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Originally Posted by knockabout View Post
...snip
All combined it's about the size of a 20litre drum but in a waterproof soft bag / includes water maker, food, first aid kit etc.
Care to share what you are referring to by "watermaker?" I'm always looking for new kit that does something better, smaller etc.
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Old 25-06-2016, 00:03   #33
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

In my view, much depends on the type of sailing you do. Mid-ocean rescues are different to coastal rescues. Racing is different to cruising and solo is just plain dangerous. I'm mostly a solo sailor.

Also, how you end up in the water matters. If you're knocked unconscious on the way overboard you are not going to grab the ditch bag on the way.

Bearing all that in mind, and that you did ask specifically about what goes in a ditch bag, I'd have to say an EPIRB goes without saying. Ditto for hand-held VHF. Even if you sail with a large experienced race crew and there is always more than one person on deck then neither of these devices is sufficient for them to retrieve you. They are going to know you have gone overboard but if they're belting downwind it could take a while for them to ditch the spinnaker and come back to where you were, and you won't be there any longer because of wind and current. So you the best additional device in this circumstance is an AIS.

However, if you are out cruising with the admiral and you go overboard while on watch then she probably won't even notice till next morning, so you also need a proximity alarm that will wake her.

And finally, if you're solo then an instant conversion to whatever religion appeals is probably your best bet.

Personally, my primary effort goes into staying on the boat.
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Old 25-06-2016, 03:58   #34
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
. . . Two life rafts? Wow, that's taking redundancy to the next level. A life raft for your life raft.. . .
What can I say . . . I sail in winter at latitudes above 50N. In sometimes strong weather, and with sea temperature not much above freezing. If the boat sinks or burns, you are dead in some minutes, without a raft. Even perfect distress signalling, evoking an immediate helicopter response right to your location, might not save you. When I was cruising in Florida and the Carib, I didn't even have a raft at all. But up here -- if a raft malfunctions or gets blown away, and your boat is going down -- you're dead. So I figure it's better to have a couple of them.

The previous owner of my boat thought so too, as I inherited both rafts from him They are excellent Avon Ocean ones, which I have professionally serviced every three years.
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Old 25-06-2016, 06:11   #35
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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Originally Posted by Omatako View Post
Two life rafts? Wow, that's taking redundancy to the next level. A life raft for your life raft.

Having just qualified my boat for an NZ CAT1 clearance, I found their recommended grab bag woefully inadequate. Having said that, some of the recommendations in this thread seem a little top- heavy too. For example as the EPIRB has already advised the SAR world of your dilemma and exact position why would you want another piece tracking equipment of questionable survivability as well? Even the average Iridium phone will last just minutes if it gets wet. In a grab bag it just takes up space and adds weight. Rather take the equivalent in high-energy bars..........
There is a reason I have a PLB packed in my raft. If you have to pack up and leave in a real hurry you may not have time to activate your ship's epirb or pick up your grab bag.

Case in point. Fishing boat lost off NW Tasmania maybe 12 years or so ago. Wreck located quite quickly close inshore with two Epirbs still in their mounts in the frd end of the wheelhouse. About a month later raft and bodies of two of the three crew found on an island off the coast of Flinders Island off the end of NE Tasmania.
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Old 25-06-2016, 06:39   #36
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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Originally Posted by StandardHorizon View Post
Standard Horizon recommends disposable alkaline batteries, disposable Li-Ion battery are not recommended for high current draw products like VHF radios, when transmitting the voltage of the batteries drop rapidly due to the impedance off the disposable li-ion batteries.

R. Jason Kennedy
Executive Vice President
Standard Horizon / YAESU Aviation
714.827.7600 (office)
Good to know--thank you!
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Old 25-06-2016, 15:18   #37
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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There is a reason I have a PLB packed in my raft. If you have to pack up and leave in a real hurry you may not have time to activate your ship's epirb or pick up your grab bag.
For you then it's probably best to pack the EPIRB into the liferaft? It will continue to transmit long after the PLB has stopped. But then, setting off the EPIRB and grabbing the grab bag should be way quicker than launching the liferaft, they are after all the essence of "saving lives at sea".

At the risk of getting my head torn off, PLBs are more intended for land-based adventure activities, not really that appropriate for marine use. And I'm not the only one to think that - this clipped from the Maritime NZ website

1) EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) – for use on boats and ships
2) PLB (personal locator beacon) – for use in remote locations
3) ELT (emergency locator transmitter) – for use in aircraft


There is always at least one case in point but as they say - "One swallow doeth not a summer make". The very fact that the EPIRBs were located in the forward area of the wheelhouse tells its own story.
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Old 25-06-2016, 16:18   #38
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

This thread gives me a good opportunity to check off my survival gear.
In no particular order:
1. 6-man life raft. Almost time to recertify.
2. EPIRB
3. InReach
4. Garmin Hand-held GPS Chart Plotter. I probably wouldn't buy if starting over, but might come in handy one day.
5. SSB Radio; have plans to add a Pactor modem for weather maps and email.
6. 3 ea. hand-held VHF Radios, all floating, only one with DSC.
7. Ship VHF Radio
8. Flares
9. Laser Flare
10. Bunch of PFDs.
11. Jack Lines, Tethers, & auto-inflate PFDs with Harnesses, Personal AIS, & line-cutting knives.
12. Hand-held Survivor-06 Water Maker
13. Emergency Rations
14. Continuing to learn from those with more experience and wisdom.
On my wish list, Personal EPIRBs, Sea Anchor, and Sat Phone (maybe). And, a bigger boat. OK, just kidding about the bigger boat...

Hope I never have to use any of this stuff, except for the InReach, which is the most cost-effective device. Love the tracking function so folk can keep up with your journey. Oh, yeah, the VHF radios are in constant use as are the PFDs, of course.

Fair winds,

Leo
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Old 25-06-2016, 17:44   #39
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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For you then it's probably best to pack the EPIRB into the liferaft? .....
Not at all... there could be many situations when you want to activate your epirb but don't need to abandon ship...yet.

The loss of 'Brilliant' and the abandonment of the Kon Tiki raft being good examples.

Cost and size were issues back when I bought the PLB... if when I repack the raft next time it will get an Epirb.

And there will be many times when.. after abandoning ship... someone will say 'but I thought you brought the grab bag/the epirb/lunch'.....

Things can get ugly real quick on a dark and stormy night...
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Old 25-06-2016, 17:54   #40
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

eh......

If you have two EPIRBs then yes one in a raft.

BUT if you carry just one.

I would still carry a MOB/DSC/AIS device as well, or else a DSC VHF handheld. Imagine you in the raft and a ship steamin' by ... it will not see your EPIRB but it will see a combined AIS/DSC alarm (likely/hopefully)

So it is probably the question if one can afford all the gear or just one or two items.

b.
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Old 25-06-2016, 18:06   #41
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

Last Epirb I bought was less than US$300..

I am , however, planning to replace my 15yo hand held VHF with a Standard Horizon HX-870

A query ... can this Class D DSC VHF accept a British MMSI?

Pretty sure it can.. just asking..
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Old 25-06-2016, 19:38   #42
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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There is a reason I have a PLB packed in my raft. If you have to pack up and leave in a real hurry you may not have time to activate your ship's epirb or pick up your grab bag.

Case in point. Fishing boat lost off NW Tasmania maybe 12 years or so ago. Wreck located quite quickly close inshore with two Epirbs still in their mounts in the frd end of the wheelhouse. About a month later raft and bodies of two of the three crew found on an island off the coast of Flinders Island off the end of NE Tasmania.
As well as all the other useful items suggested don't forget the value of just your normal mobile phone. Another Tasmanian fishing boat sank very quickly off Maria Island about 2 years and the only way they got a message out was via a mobile phone sms. The EPIRB was activated on the vessel but as it sank they escaped on a raft in 20knt wind which pushed them away from the EPIRB location very quickly and whilst they couldn't call out due to week signal they did get an SMS to family who alerted police. We responded in our boat as well but the Chopper just got there before us and all crew were safely rescued. A few months later we ran into one of the crew and he said they had no time at all to grab anything except release the lift raft in waist deep water while the boat sank.

Of course the mobile will only work in signal range but a useful tool out to 12mn or so.
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Old 25-06-2016, 19:46   #43
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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Originally Posted by El Pinguino View Post
Last Epirb I bought was less than US$300..

I am , however, planning to replace my 15yo hand held VHF with a Standard Horizon HX-870

A query ... can this Class D DSC VHF accept a British MMSI?

Pretty sure it can.. just asking..
Damn good price on an EPIRB, what was it?
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Old 26-06-2016, 02:55   #44
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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Quite some time ago, mid 1990s, an inflatable system was advertised to make any sailboat unsinkable. Would automatically inflate bags that would fill most of the main cabin. If it's still around, might be a better bet than a lot of these other electronic options being talked about. You can get a parachute that deploys allowing your small plane to float to earth. Yup they are probably expensive, but as you say, what is your life worth?


You have some rather 🤔 Unique ideas there Reed. 😂😂😂
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Old 26-06-2016, 03:05   #45
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Re: Ditch-Bag: Hand Held Advice?

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What can I say . . . I sail in winter at latitudes above 50N. In sometimes strong weather, and with sea temperature not much above freezing. If the boat sinks or burns, you are dead in some minutes, without a raft. Even perfect distress signalling, evoking an immediate helicopter response right to your location, might not save you. When I was cruising in Florida and the Carib, I didn't even have a raft at all. But up here -- if a raft malfunctions or gets blown away, and your boat is going down -- you're dead. So I figure it's better to have a couple of them.

The previous owner of my boat thought so too, as I inherited both rafts from him They are excellent Avon Ocean ones, which I have professionally serviced every three years.
And yet, you don't think an epirb is necessary let alone essential for you?
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