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Thread: Ditch Bag

  1. #1
    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Default Ditch Bag

    Bushboy mentioned a Ditch Bag in another thread about boat safety.

    What items do you put in your Ditch Bag?

    I have always had a smaller boat and never gave it much thought but now I have a larger boat and getting a dingy for the top I need to put a ditch bag together. I have an idea of what to put in it such as basic survival gear, (matches, mirror, whistle, flare gun, small hand held radio, etc) but would like to know what you put in your Ditch bag.

    Mark

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    Member ken210's Avatar
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    Default

    Hey Mark,
    In my ditch bag I carry a few things. Water proof matches, a couple of fire starter blocks, couple of packets of emergency water, a day/night smoke/flare, brick of emergency rations, leatherman and a water proof hand held VHF. And all items are in it's own zip lock bag in a water proof float bag. That's all I can think of right now I'll PM ya if I remember anything else. Just remember that the Coast Guard and Air Guard can tune up to marine channel 16 that's why I think the hand held VHF is worth its weight in gold.

    Ken

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    Default I would

    think maybe some dry clothes. Maybe vacuum sealed, in case you get wet.

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    In addition to what you guys have listed that you carry in your ditch bags, let me add what I also carry;

    A water filtration kit with a couple of empty water bottles,
    3 space blankets,
    a rescue laser with extra battery,
    a 12' X 16' good old "Alaskan" blue tarp with grommets around the edges,
    100' of 1/4" cord,
    a roll of duct tape,
    a First Aid kit,
    an LED Mini Mag flashlight w/ extra batteries,
    medications that anyone onboard is taking (for BP, diabetes, etc),
    a couple of MRE's,
    and at the top of my bag I carry the 3 most important things I can think of;
    my PLB in a Pelican case,
    my handheld VHF,
    and my cell phone.

    As ken210 said - "everything is stored in a Ziploc bag" except for the larger items and they are still in their original plastic bags.

    All of this fits into a dry-bag that could hold any -20 cold weather sleeping bag.

  5. #5
    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks guys for the tips. I am putting one together and will have it before my first launch. I had never really given it much thought before. I guess when S--- hits the fan, everything in one water proof bag at the ready makes alot of sense. I will add a SS 357 to the list also.

  6. #6

    Default Photo of Ditch Bag

    See attached photos for ditch bag & contents.
    Double check your bag to make sure it is light enough to float.
    The flares are on top inside the bag, and the bag is labeled "Flares"
    This way the flares are considered accessible for Coast Guard inspection.


    On my life jacket I also have the following items:
    (All life jacket items float except the light)

    ACR PLB
    2 waterproof/floatable flares
    waterproof matches in film can
    cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly in film can (fire starter)
    floating knife on tether
    waterproof handheld VHF on tether
    whistle on tether
    ACR C-light (signal light) attached with integral safety pin and tether
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Member akjeff's Avatar
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    Default Good info

    This is good info. I keep my portable VHF in my PFD. If it is rough or conditions warrant I will put my PLB in my pocket also, especially on big, open water crossings. My problem with VHF ,as the sole emergency comunication, is it is only line of sight. Many places I go, in PWS, I get very little VHF reception. Because of this, I started carrying a sat phone in a pelican box. My problem with the sat phone is, it isn't waterproof. That is why I purchased the PLB. I purchased the ACR AquaFix with integral gps.

  8. #8
    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Default

    With Everyones Input, this is what I decided on. I plan to vaccum seal anything that can get wet and put it in a waterproof bag and add some floation to it if it sinks on my first test. I also plan on tieing a rope to it with a caribeaner on the other end for quick attachment to the dingy or person that retrieves it. I don't plan to get in the bag once packed so anything items needed in the boat already will be duplicated, ie flares, firstaid kit etc... this will prevent anyone from convience fishing for something in the bag that they might forget to put back.

    Ditch Bag

    First Aid Kit
    Flashlight (Small Pelican LED Light)
    Extra batteries
    Advil packets
    4 Space blankets
    Blue tarp
    Rope 50
    357 ss revolver and ammo
    Bag of Trailmix from Costco
    4 water bottles
    Hand Held VHF Radio
    Hand held GPS
    Roll of Duct Tape
    Hand warmers
    Fire starter (Cotton Balls and Vaseline)
    Waterproof matches
    Mirror
    Pistol Type gun and flares
    Leatherman
    whistle
    chapstick
    4 wool beanie hats 4 pair gloves 4 Pair Wool Socks (Vacuum Sealed)
    6 Large heavy duty Trashbags

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    Great post Chico

    I think most everyone is repacking their ditch bags from this post - I know I have made a few adjustments.
    Thanks again.

  10. #10
    Member broncoformudv's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by titobandito View Post
    See attached photos for ditch bag & contents.
    Double check your bag to make sure it is light enough to float.
    The flares are on top inside the bag, and the bag is labeled "Flares"
    This way the flares are considered accessible for Coast Guard inspection.


    On my life jacket I also have the following items:
    (All life jacket items float except the light)

    ACR PLB
    2 waterproof/floatable flares
    waterproof matches in film can
    cotton balls soaked in petroleum jelly in film can (fire starter)
    floating knife on tether
    waterproof handheld VHF on tether
    whistle on tether
    ACR C-light (signal light) attached with integral safety pin and tether


    These are some great items and I had never thought of putting stuff on my flotation device or my childrens but after reading your list and seeing some pics chriso posted of his kids with a scuba knife on their vest I think I will make that change as well. You can never be too safe in Alaska or on the water for that mater.

  11. #11
    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks to your Tread on "Boat Safety" that I had read, I had never even heard of thought of a Ditch bag. But it makes great sense so you sparked my curiosity. Now if I ever have to use it, I can thank you for the soft elbow and saying subliminally "Hey Dude, you might wanna think of putting one of these together, you may need it someday." Thanks Bushboy

  12. #12

    Default Thanks guys

    Thanks for the post guys. I've been needing to get a ditch bag together for my boat for some time..

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    Quote Originally Posted by chico99645 View Post
    Thanks to your Tread on "Boat Safety" that I had read, I had never even heard of thought of a Ditch bag. But it makes great sense so you sparked my curiosity. Now if I ever have to use it, I can thank you for the soft elbow and saying subliminally "Hey Dude, you might wanna think of putting one of these together, you may need it someday." Thanks Bushboy
    You're welcome Chico. Wasn't targetting you with my comment in the boating forum but glad to hear it got you thinking about the possibilities of having to deal with a BAD situation. Glad to see from other posts that other members are doing the same. Nothing worse than hearing about a boating/fishing trip go bad and then become tragic because they didn't have the appropriate safety gear available to them. Alaska's waters are very unforgiving.

  14. #14
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    Just had a chat with former Southeast Alaskan Fisherman whom works at my work site on Survival. He told me to add three items on my list. The first is a couple of road flares (longer burn time the better) He told me that a cold wet survivor first needs a fire and wet wood is next to impossible to start. He said a road flare will get your fire started under almost any circumstance. The second is a fishing handline setup with spare hooks for catching fish for long term survival. Small compact and takes up little room. Thirdly is a tin canteen cup or small tin coffee pot for boiling water. To take up less room, just pack other items in it. They are now on my list also.

  15. #15

    Default life raft

    Good responses for the contents of the ditch bag. I'm also adding a life raft--the thought of going into that cold, cold ocean is not a warming one. I've found two for small recreational boats--the Switlik Rescue Pod (4 man) and the Revere Canopy Compact Life Raft (4 man) [note: they have larger versions, also). Both life rafts are designed for use closer to shore (less than 3 miles) and are meant to " bridge the gap between the lifevest and the full blown liferaft offering boaters traveling alone or with a few people the smallest, lightest and most inexpensive raft available."

    Both rafts are award winning designs. I've heard that the AK Dept of Fish and Game carries the Switlik rescue pod in all their airplanes. This one costs about $2500. The other one--the Revere--costs about $1300. The main difference that I see is that the Switlik comes in a version with an inflatable floor (good for insulating you from the cold water). However, either would seem to give you a fighting chance if you have to abandon ship away from shore, a station to deploy your emergency locator beacon and broadcast from your VHF.

    I hate to spend the money, but my thought is, if your boat is sinking and your heading directly into the water, probably your last thought would be "I'm sure glad I saved that $1300 (or $2500) by not buying a raft."

    Here is one dealers websites:http://www.landfallnavigation.com/canopycompact.html (for the Revere) and http://www.landfallnavigation.com/noname.html (for the Switlik).

    Any thoughts on either of the two rafts?

  16. #16

    Default Revere Coastal Commander

    I bought the Revere Coastal Commander 6-man valise from Eagle Enterprises for $1700 last year. Considered the smaller rafts but was not comfortable with such a small raft. I also like the independent double tubes & roof on the Coastal Commander v.s. the single tube & no roof on the smaller lightweight models.

    It is a big pig on the floor though and weighs 70 lbs. I keep it on the floor in the open area to the aft of the drop curtain (i.e. outside of the curtain) with a caribiner attaching the raft toss/rip cord to the boat rail to make it "self launching" if nobody manages to toss it over in event of a very quick sinking. You would still have to yank the cord to inflate it .

    Supposedly the toss/rip cord is designed to tear free from the raft if it is pulled too hard and thus the sinking boat can not sink or damage the raft............

    Now one scenario I have wondered about is when the slant back curtain is attached to the boat while underway. Obviously the raft could not "self launch" from inside an enclosed canopy. However, the slant back would do a lot towards keeping a following wave from swamping and preventing you from sinking.

    Any thoughts on pros/cons regarding safety and emergency procedures with respect to a valise style liferaft for the "attached slantback while underway" scenario ???

  17. #17
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    I ordered my Tender From Alaska Series Inflatables at the Boat Show this Feb. Should be in End of first week of May. Got my bag put together. It weighs 27 pounds total. Little heavy. Have lots of extra room for Large Bubble wrap for added bouyancy. Hope it floats. I put an 8 foot rope with caribeaner on it for clipping directly on the raft. I feel better after putting it all together. Hope I never have to use it.

  18. #18

    Default Boat down on Columbia R.

    Here is a good first hand account from a fisherman on ifish.net when emergency rafts and a ditch bag became a true life saver.

    "Some of you I have spoke to yesterday and today. For the others I will let everyone know my stupid act for the year hopefully. I think most have seen the news articles. The pictures are true and awful. I hope this is a lesson learned for everyone that reads this. I know it was for me living it.

    Yesterday I went sturgeon fishing with a good friend of mine up the river about 10 miles from Astoria. We have noticed the hole on several trips up and down the river and really wanted to try it out. My boat is a (or should I say was) a 2006 Riviera flybridge. I bought it new and had many problems with it (mostly with the generator) but finally had them all fixed and really enjoyed using the boat. I just had a bunch of work done to it and of course serviced and ready for the season along with some new rigging. Anyway we anchored and put the lines in the water. I did a few things around and was getting some stuff in order and read for a bit and then was really bored (mistake number 1). Ever since last year I make it a habit to wear a life vest all the time even in the river as it is not friendly. And of course the boat is full of safety equipment. Jack had fished with me for many years. I met him in Alaska in 1979. Great guy to fish with. I decided to purchase a couple of those new Solaris flares as some of mine were due to expire in July of this year so I figured it made sense to have the best ones. I thought it would be fun to show them off to Jack (mistake number 2). So I grabbed one and showed it to him. He asked how do you set it off. I said I had no clue as I had never had to or set off any flares but had the gun style on the boat too. About that time I started to look it over and took off the bottom part to expose the trigger (or what I guess is the trigger) (another mistake). From there things went so fast I really can not remember what happened as it seemed like my mind was swimming. All I know is that we were standing in the cockpit and when the flare went off it shot right into the house. I looked at Jack and he looked at me and we both could not believe what happened and could not understand why I would be so stupid as to release a flare on the boat. After the initial shock I told Jack to go get the rafts and the ditch bag as there was so much smoke in the house I could hardly see but decided to grab a fire extinguisher and try to put out the fire. I have many of them on the boat (5 to be exact) but could only get to one of them as most were in the cabin. While Jack was getting the rafts and ditch bag I tried to put the fire out. What a joke that was. The fire extinguisher was too small and not nearly enough stuff to put out a match book let alone the fire that was started inside. By this time Jack had already started to inflate the rafts (thank god). He inflated two of them. Then by this time I could see it was a loss and decided to get Jack off the boat. I got him in a raft and made sure he was free from the boat and then I took the other raft and the ditch bag and fell into the raft myself. At the same time I did that the fire had spread to the cockpit and just a few seconds later there was an explosion (maybe the fire extinguisher) and the fire took off and totally engulfed the boat. I could not believe it.

    We floated down the river for what seemed like days (probably about an hour) before a couple boats showed up but did not see us even though I was waving red and greed flags and we were in yellow rafts. I was able to talk to the Astoria Coast Guard from after getting into the raft. There is more to this story but probably boring from here on out.

    Lessons learned for me was amazing how fast a boat will burn. Had I not made the decision to have Jack get the rafts right out of the gate we would have had to get into the river with only our life vests on and that would not have been good. I think it is very important to think about saving your life first and worry about the material things later. I wanted to grab some items out of the boat but could not breathe while in there with the extinguisher so just figured everything in the boat could be replaced. And there was a lot of stuff.

    I spoke to Rod today and he is so correct when he says how important it is to have the correct safety gear.

    At this point I will probably continue to go fishing but will not use or touch the flares again. I will leave that up to someone that hopefully is better than me. I can do just fine with the rafts and radio and other safety items. I hope everyone can learn from my terrible experience. It was very hard for me to tell everyone about this accident as it was about as stupid as they get."

    Wayne

    http://www.king5.com/localnews/stori...113cafef4.html
    Last edited by Steelieguy; 05-01-2009 at 10:03. Reason: spelling

  19. #19
    Member garnede's Avatar
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    At this point I will probably continue to go fishing but will not use or touch the flares again.
    Good lesson, but he should go somewhere and practice using the flares, with instruction, so that he is comfortable with them.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

    http://wouldieatitagainfoodblog.blogspot.com/

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