Should You Really Invest in a Ditch Bag?
No one ever wants to abandon their ship. If there is an emergency like a fire, storm, or running aground, however, it may become necessary. If that happens, you want to be prepared to survive, even if your boat does not. That is why you need a ditch bag. Let the AVI Life Raft Store guide you on what a ditch bag is, why you need one, and how to prepare it.
What is a Ditch Bag?
A ditch bag is a small, easily accessible, and waterproof bag containing all the supplies you need to survive if you must abandon your vessel. A ditch bag should be brightly colored and have a lanyard. Reflective tape and numerous pockets on the bag are pluses. The contents of your ditch bag should be able to sustain you for at least 72 hours.
Why do I need a Ditch Bag?
No matter what size or type of vessel you sail, it's always a good idea to prepare for the worst. A ditch bag can make all the difference in an emergency. The fact that it can float gives you something to cling to if you end up in the water. Most things that can save your life, like medication, water, and flares, can be stored in a ditch bag.
How do I prepare my Ditch Bag?
Before stocking your ditch bag, ensure it's appropriate for your vessel and crew. You will want gear and supplies appropriate to your area of operations, particularly if they involve extreme conditions. Your bag should be large enough to sustain you and your crew but not so large that it is difficult to move. If you have a large crew or want redundancies, making multiple ditch bags is probably a good idea.
There are a few key things you'll want to include in your ditch bag. First, include items that will help signal for help, like flares and a whistle. You'll also want to include essential medicine and some form of shelter, like a tarp or a space blanket. Finally, don't forget to include plenty of food and water. No matter what you decide to put in your ditch bag, remember that it could one day save your life. So make sure it's well-stocked and easily accessible, and always be prepared for the worst. A few other items to consider:
- An Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) (for signaling)
- Matches or a lighter (for fire-starting)
- Basic first-aid supplies including bandages, antibiotic ointment, and pain relievers (for medicine)
- Sunscreen and insect repellent (for comfort)
- Orange Smoke Canisters (for signaling)
- A Handheld VHF Radio Plus Replacement Batteries (for signaling)
- A Signaling Mirror (for signaling)
- A Sea Dye Marker (for signaling)
- One Signal Locator Beacon (for signaling)
- Pocket Flashlights (for light and signaling)
- Red Industrial Grade Glow Sticks (for light and signaling)
- Sea Sick Pills/Anti-Motion Sickness Tablets (for medicine)
- A Manual Air Horn (for signaling)
- A Hand Compass (for navigation)
- A Manual Water Maker (for survival)
- Practical apparel (hats, sunglasses, swimming goggles, etc.) (for comfort)
- Drogue (sea anchor)
- A strobe light (for signaling)
- Survival gear like a knife, fishing equipment, and rope (for survival)
Where should I keep my Ditch Bag?
Ideally, you'll want to keep your ditch bag within easy reach, like in the cockpit of your boat. That way, if you do end up in the water, you can grab it and go. You may also want to consider keeping a smaller version of your ditch bag onboard if you need to abandon ship in a hurry. It may be helpful to assign a specific person to grab the ditch bag in an emergency.
What brand of ditch bag should I buy?
For smaller vessels, we recommend the ACR Rapid Ditch Bag Small. This bag is durable, with tough, water-resistant fabric and self-repairing, corrosion-resistant zippers that stand up to the harshest elements. It can float up to 25 lbs of gear and has enough space to store essential items without being too bulky. The new reflective material used in the bag assists in being spotted by Search and Rescue forces. Best of all, the ACR Rapid Ditch Bag Small has a new innovative shoulder strap tethering system that unhooks and quickly transforms into two 4-foot safety harnesses designed to clip to your life jackets to keep everyone connected while in the water.
For larger vessels, we recommend the ACR Rapid Ditch Bag Large. This bag is made of the same high-quality, heavy-duty materials and can store even more gear. The large size is great for storing items like flares, a flashlight, batteries, food, water, and extra clothes.
Find Them At the AVI Life Raft Store
You can find the ACR Rapid Ditch Bag Small and the ACR Rapid Ditch Bag Large at the AVI Life Raft Store. We proudly carry these ditch bags because they are high-quality products that are sure to help you in a survival situation. The AVI Life Raft Stores goes above and beyond its competition in pricing and customer service. So don't be caught unprepared on your next expedition. Visit the AVI Life Raft Store and get some peace of mind today!