Creating a Ditch Bag

No one likes to think about the boat going down, but be prepared with creating a ditch bag.
No one likes to think about the boat sinking, but if it ever happens, being prepared can make a difference in your chances for survival. Professional traveling crews almost always have a ditch bag within reach when making long crossings. I always put together my own ditch bag because there are certain things that I want to make sure I can access and use to stay alive for extended periods. I’m sure I won’t need to wait a week or more for a rescue, but if I do have to wait, I’m living by the motto: “Don’t just survive — start a colony!”

Here are some must-have items to consider including in your ditch bag, in addition to the obligatory life raft and provisions, in case of emergency:

  • ACR high-visibility floating bag
  • Water-activated strobe lights
  • First aid kit and QuickClot kit
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • VHF and hand-held GPS
  • Universal solar charger with adaptors
  • Hand-crank flashlight
  • Waterproof flashlight
  • Flare kit
  • Cyalume sticks
  • Compass
  • Signal mirror and whistle
  • Dye markers
  • Buffs
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunblock
  • Anti-nausea medications
  • Waterproof tackle box
  • Diamond jigs
  • Gulp minnows
  • Hooks, line, leader and sinkers
  • Blunt-tipped knife
  • Leatherman tool
  • Super Glue
  • Bungee cords
  • Rubber bands
  • Thermos
  • Solar condensation water still
  • Imodium
  • Potassium pills
  • Chamois
  • Bug repellent
  • Thermal blanket
  • Hand pump
  • Tarp (white or orange, not blue)
  • Folding bucket
  • Zip-top bags
  • Small cutting board
  • Crab trap line
  • Cable ties
  • Funnel
  • Antibacterial soap
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Small swimming goggles

That might seem like a lot of stuff, but when it’s time to hit the water or the beach in some out-of-the-way spot, you’ll be glad you packed away a little extra gear.