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Are You Prepared?
The excitement builds – you’re heading out on your boat tomorrow. The kids are coming along with your best friend and his daughter. Pack up the food, snacks, soft drinks, chips, plenty of ice, sunscreen and off you go. Just wondering if you remembered everything you might need? You already know the answer is probably “no,” so we thought we would throw out a few items.
What’s in Your Medical Kit?
The typical things:
3 different sizes of bandages, 8 of each
Adhesive Roll Tape (1 roll)
Medium size gauze pads
Antiseptic Wipes (12)
Burn Cream packets (6)
Motion Sickness Tablets (12)
Non-Aspirin Tablets (12)
Sting Relief Pads (3)
First Aid Instructions
Add a few extras:
Sunblock wipes (12)
Bug Repellant (12)
Moist Towelettes (12)
Small Hand Sanitizer
And make sure it is all stored in a waterproof case (for obvious reasons).
Can you Repair Things?
Think about all of the things on your boat, that you would have to repair, in that "uh-oh" moment. A hose line, something tears, a wire comes loose – and dang! I wish I had a zip tie. All of these items, plus a great multi-tool, should be in your Repair Kit. And if you have battery-operated items on your boat, a few extra AA and AAA batteries.
Zip Ties (Medium)
Wrap Tape & Water Weld
Stainless Steel Multi-Tool
Communications and Signaling
Many boaters always make sure to have a VHF radio mounted into their console. But if it goes out, or if you were not with your boat, how would you communicate? Bringing an extra handheld VHF with you is always a great idea. Always make sure to charge it however and leaving it on your boat after every trip is not the best plan. VHF radios however only transmit by line of sight. A VHF radio can tout that is for 12 miles, however, that is based upon a perfectly smooth sea and you holding the VHF as high as you can to follow the curvature of the earth.
Another and sometimes a better method, all though not inexpensive is to have a Satellite device. Either a Satellite Phone or a small device you can connect your phone to. As long as you can get a Satellite connection, you can communicate via conversation with a phone or texting from your cell phone through your Sat Phone or Satellite text device like the Garmin inReach Mini.
Auto signaling devices have become popular. When I am the captain of my boat (or whoever is at the helm), I am always wearing a PLB or Personal Locator Beacon. Some people get confused between a PLB and an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indication Radiobeacon). A PLB is for an individual and your EPIRB is for the boat itself. I have a number of friends with small children or teens and they have a PLB for each one of them that they are wearing all the time.
If you are in Coastal waters or offshore, it is mandated that you have day and night time signaling devices, such as flares. I always recommend having at least two night time signaling devices and two daytime signaling devices. For daytime, a handheld smoke flare will work great or a signal mirror. For the night time, be sure to bring some sort of aerial flare.
A working horn or a whistle is Coast Guard mandated.
What Else is Important?
A few little simple things should be carried as well. A flashlight, possibly an extra pair of polarized sunglasses and a rescue streamer. I did not touch on Life Vests as this is a Coast Guard mandate for all boats. I will mention however to make sure the Life Vests you have on your boat, fit adults and children and are not just the 4 pack from the local sporting goods store. Make sure if you are bringing children on your boat, that your life vests fit children, if not, carry a few of those as well.
Where Do I Put It All?
Worldwide Survival offers 4 different levels of Ditch Packs for anything from 1 person and 1 day up to 4 people and 4 days. Not only are they Survival Kits, but they are day use packs as well because all of the different products that can be found in each Pack. Its for that “Uh Oh” moment as well as the “I Wish I Had” moment as well. All of