Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items | Boating Magazine

Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items

Key safety items that may save your life.

Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items

Ditch bags are compact floating bags designed to hold critical items boaters need in an emergency. With everything in one place, boaters can quickly jump into a life raft or even the water with important items needed to speed their rescue.

We asked the experts at The GPS Store, Inc. of Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina to fill a virtual ditch bag with the key marine accessories that may save your life.

Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items

ACR RapidDitch Express — It starts with the bag itself — and with plenty of space, pockets and pouches to keep items safe and organized, this floating ditch bag is ideal for grab-and-go emergencies.

Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items

EPIRB — When activated, Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacons like the ACR Global Fix Pro use satellites and earth stations to notify Coast Guard and local search and rescue teams of your emergency and provide your GPS position over two separate frequencies (406MHz and 121.5MHz).

How To Choose An EPIRB

Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items

Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) — PLBs like the ACR ResQLink broadcast a 406MHz satellite distress signal to the Coast Guard and a separate homing signal for local Search and Rescue to pinpoint your position. Small enough to fit several into a ditch bag, the ResQLink is designed to clip onto lifejackets. Having one for each person aboard increases the chance of quick rescue, even if people in the water become separated. It’s a good idea to have one affixed to each member of your crew.

Learn More About PLBs

Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items

Emergency Handheld VHF — Standard Horizon’s HX851 handheld VHF radio was made for this purpose. It’s waterproof, it floats, it glows in the dark and it even features a built-in strobe light that activates automatically in the water. With it, you can make one-button Digital Selective Calling (DSC) distress calls that alert all DSC-equipped vessels with your emergency and your GPS position.

Four VHF Sins

Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items

Emergency Lights — No ditch bag is complete without specialized lights designed to help rescuers spot victims. ACR makes a variety, including the RapidFire Vest Strobe that attaches to a lifejacket and activates for 8 hours with a pull-pin. Another choice, the ACR Firefly Waterbug Strobe Light activates automatically in water. Because light may be required for other purposes besides emergency signaling, boaters may also want the ACR Firefly Plus Strobe/Flashlight Combo.

Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items

Handheld GPS — A waterproof floating handheld GPS like the Garmin GPS 72H is an affordable addition to any ditch bag, giving boaters the ability to pinpoint and report their position with 10-foot GPS/WAAS accuracy. Those who want mapping capabilities can move up to the Garmin GPSMAP 78SC, which comes with pre-loaded, detailed cartography.

Portable GPS Units Compared

Seven Must-Have Ditch Bag Items

Low-Tech Devices — There are many additional low-tech devices boaters should include in their ditch bags. For example, the ACR Hot Shot Signal Mirror combines a whistle with a specialized mirror for daylight signaling. In addition, simple items like noisemaking devices, drinking water packs, chemical glow sticks, duct tape and sunglasses can increase safety and comfort while awaiting rescue.

How To Use A Signal Mirror

To learn more about must-have items for every ditch bag, contact The GPS Store at (800) 477-2611 or visit www.TheGPSStore.com.

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