Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What's In Your Ditch Bag??

Like most offshore sailors, we kept a ditch bag full of very important, life-saving necessities near the companionway exit when we were on a long passage. The common thinking is that if the snot really hits the fan, you can grab your ditch bag on your way to the life raft. Uh-huh.

Well, regardless of whether you'll have the time or the where-with-all to grab the bag, it's a good idea. And don't just think this only applies to those of us who live a watery existence. Back when we lived a land based life, we also kept an emergency plastic tub with a few essentials handy, just in case.

Since I’m unpacking the boat, I've brought home our ditch bag. So...here's what we put in our ditch bag. I'm curious to know what you put in yours. What are we missing??

We use a duffle bag with backpack straps to enable an easy exit and keep our hands free. Yep, we still drool over those fancy yellow bags that float and have perfectly sized partitions for all your 'stuff', but this was a better fit for our budget (ie: free). Everything is double-triple bagged in ziplocs.

Here's what's in it:
  • Fancy EPIRB (Emergency Beacon with GPS)
  • SPOT (another beacon to call for help, or let your friends know where you are)
  • binoculars
  • first aid kit, gauze, bandaids, slings, splint, tensors, suture kits, and ana pen etc.
  • seasickness meds and T3s
  • gps with batteries
  • signaling devices: strobe light, flash lights, laser light, glow sticks, whistles
  • gerber multi-tool
  • copies of passports and boat papers
  • waterproof notebook and pencil, playing cards
  • sunscreen and emergency blanket
  • sail repair thread (should have included a needle)
  • hazard kit (includes foil water pouches and some type of expired food 'product', toilet paper, garbage bags, and other stuff).

Some stuff that isn't in this picture, that we usually put in the bag for our big passages:
  • cash and passports
  • satellite phone
  • handheld vhf radio
  • hard drive with photo backups (yeah, I'm a photo-crazed fool)
  • sunglasses
  • a book
  • chocolate (most of it was eaten on our final days at sea...running out of chocolate is definitely an emergency situation aboard Renova).

We also had a second bag that was tied on that had our supply of flares. We kept a jug of water tied on deck, with a knife nearby to cut it loose. On our North Pacific passage, we put our wetsuits into a dry bag and left that near the exit also.


Colleen Kelly said...

Naomi and John, nice to see you at the roast, sorry I didn't get to talk to you more. Thanks for listing your ditch bag contents, I have a half assed one going, need to pour it out and look at it again. Takes a bit of organising to get the stuff in one place.
We are loving SF, probably head south in a couple of weeks. Cheers CK

Behan Gifford said...

Such an interesting exercise!! I don't have time to go through your whole list now- we are leaving for Papua New Guinea today (eeek!) but will save offline and take a look at it later. All the best from the Totem crew!

Anonymous said...

Please forgive me , but on top of it all ,an item that I did not see is a mirror. Might be handy at times.

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Hi - thanks for leaving a comment on the blog! Cheers - John and Naomi