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Old 11-01-2017, 09:34   #1
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Ditch bag

What makes up a good ditch bag, how much stuff should you really have in a coastal sailors ditch bag?
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Old 11-01-2017, 09:50   #2
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Re: Ditch bag

One that floats.

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Old 11-01-2017, 10:17   #3
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Re: Ditch bag

I think it depends on your area of sailing.

My wife & I sail the coast of BC. Our ditch kit has water for 3 days, two days high energy bars, hunting knife, hatchet, tarp, water purification tabs, fire starter. Plus flares, mirror, line, hooks.

The logic here is that if we ditch it will probably be because we are aground, so will be in a land suvival situation, rather than floating around the open ocean. Non the less, we have enough to float for a couple of days until we hit land. We also have some electronics, handheld marine radio, smart phone, portable power supply (with built in solar panel) ready to grab if possible.

I am also thinking about adding a simple, DIY water distiller to the mix as a lot of the islands on the west coast do not have surface (or any) water. Also thinking about a BioLight stove, which can double for beach cook outs.

The rugged West Coast Trail on the west coast of Vancouver Island was built because wrecked sailors were making it ashore, then perishing as they could not move through the rain forest. I figure when we make it to shore, we will be stuck there until rescued.
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Old 11-01-2017, 10:29   #4
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Re: Ditch bag

nine ninety five e-book:

Ditch Bags and Emergency Gear - Practical Sailor ebooks Article
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Old 11-01-2017, 11:24   #5
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Re: Ditch bag

Quote:
Originally Posted by seamountie View Post
I think it depends on your area of sailing.

My wife & I sail the coast of BC. Our ditch kit has water for 3 days, two days high energy bars, hunting knife, hatchet, tarp, water purification tabs, fire starter. Plus flares, mirror, line, hooks.

The logic here is that if we ditch it will probably be because we are aground, so will be in a land suvival situation, rather than floating around the open ocean............................
I found seamountie's post very interesting and appropriate for their cruising area. As said, "....depends on your area of sailing."

Over our own cruising range chances of grounding are not associated with isolation and leave us in range of VHF radio contact. I think of our "ditch bag" in association with abandoning our vessel when we would step up to our RIB with the loss of our vessel offshore.

In addition to the physical ditch bag we have a few associated items at the helm or near that would be related to "ditching". These would be an EPIRB, a handheld VHF and a knife kept in position to cut the lines securing our dinghy to the davits if necessary. Notice that with our coastal cruising manner we do not keep a separate designated life raft beyond our RIB.

The physical ditch bag is a water tight container holding flares (smoke,night,hand & gun), mirror, distress flag, first aid kit. A supply of emergency food and water is designated fresh at the time of an offshore passage and not stored long tern in the ditch container.

Although the non-perishable contents of our ditch bag remain available at all times, the great majority of our coastal cruising doesn't encourage us to recognize preparation for a long term without assistance and we often cruise without pre-packaged emergency food and water.
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Old 11-01-2017, 12:13   #6
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Re: Ditch bag

Yup, forgot about the first aid kit. Mostly stuff for trauma + some T3s.
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Old 11-01-2017, 13:37   #7
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Re: Ditch bag

I have spoken with two sailors that had their boats sinking under them... Both related stories on how their ditch bags floated away while they were transferring from the sinking boat to the liferaft.

I would suggest whatever you carry inside the Ditch Bag that you have a 6-8 foot lanyard to tie the bag to you or your Life Raft!

As far as contents... I agree that it depends on where you are sailing. As an example: coastal sailing off Central America is very different than coastal sailing off Florida.

It might take 1 hour to get rescued in Florida, but it might take 12 or more hours to get rescued in some isolated spots south of the border. That should be kept in mind when deciding what needs to be in the Ditch Bag.

Other items to consider no matter where you sink... Cash, Credit Card, Passport or other ID, Medicine, Ships Log & Documentation, VHF Radio, Cell Phone and Bottled Water.
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Old 11-01-2017, 15:16   #8
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Re: Ditch bag

Documents are a very good point. Not having them, or copies, can lead to no end of delay and hardship even if wrecked in your home country. I have copies of all that stored in an encripted folder stashed in cyberspace. Ships Registration, insurance, and various personal papers for The Wife, me & cats. All I need, should we need them, is access to the internet.

Also, very good point about the lanyard to the ditch kit. We try to plan according to O'Doul's corollary to Murphy's Law. O'Doul said " Murphy was an optimist "
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Old 11-01-2017, 15:27   #9
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Re: Ditch bag

My experience is there isnt enough room in one ditch bag, im buying a second. If I have to abandon ship the first mate has one job, grabbing both ditch bags.

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Old 11-01-2017, 23:03   #10
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Re: Ditch bag

@jeremaison, south ain't the only place you have to wait. North of 49 there are many many areas where you would have to wait even a day or more - assuming you made it to shore - for a retrieval. The coasts of BC and Newfoundland are incredibly rough & isolated. Rescue would have to be by RHIB. On the water would be faster as CCG can use a chopper.
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Old 12-01-2017, 00:07   #11
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Re: Ditch bag

Don't forget the bivvy sacs...


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Old 12-01-2017, 00:29   #12
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Re: Ditch bag

Locator beacon that will keep going.

Look at the difficuly they have find lost yachts.
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Old 12-01-2017, 00:37   #13
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Re: Ditch bag

You'll get loads of ideas here --> https://cse.google.com/cse?siteurl=w...bag&gsc.page=1
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:35   #14
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Re: Ditch bag

https://youtu.be/vPwW7RaPO_g
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Old 12-01-2017, 04:39   #15
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Re: Ditch bag

a handheld that can talk on the aviation bands may well be more useful than a marine vhf
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