How To Pack A Boat Ditch Bag
Posted on June 14, 2023
Whether you’re a professional mariner or a recreational boating enthusiast, you know that many things can go wrong while you’re on the water.
From capsizing, colliding with another vessel or object, fire, and even man overboard, you must be fully prepared for any type of emergency before setting foot on your boat.
This is what makes ditch bags so important. Packing this bag before your next boating adventure could potentially save your life and the lives of others.
In this article, we will unpack:
⚓️ What a ditch bag is.
⚓️ The most important gear to include in your bag.
⚓️ Where to buy the best survival gear for your bag.
What Is a Ditch Bag?
Also called an abandon ship bag or grab bag, a ditch bag contains a selection of emergency items packed into a waterproof duffel bag. It is typically stored in a place that is easily accessible on your boat in case of emergency.
What is the purpose of ditch bags?
The purpose of a ditch bag is to provide you and your crew with everything you’d need to survive an emergency until help arrives.
The items you include in your bag will differ depending on the type of boat you have, the crew size, and the boat’s intended use.
These buoyant bags should be well-organized so that you can find everything you need in the midst of an emergency.
Selecting the essentials
The challenge you may be facing is what exactly you should pack in your bag.
It’s important not to pack everything, including the kitchen sink, in your bag, as this could make it too heavy to float and difficult to locate what you need.
Instead, you need to carefully select only essential items that will help you stay alive.
With so many top brands and options available, knowing what to buy is hard. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to the essentials you should pack in your abandon ship ditch bag.
The Best Survival Gear Essentials for Your Ditch Bag
Now that you know what a ditch bag is and why it’s so important, let’s look at some of the most important items to pack into your bag before hitting the water.
A high-quality buoyant bag
To start your ditch bag, you’ll want to invest in a good bag designed for tough conditions and the capacity to carry everything you need.
It’s highly recommended that you choose bags that will float in the water to access everything you need easily.
The RapidDitch Bag by ACR is manufactured to float in the water with up to 25 pounds of gear. It also includes pockets, tethers, and loops to help you organize and store all your essentials safely.
Importantly, the RapidDitch Bag is made from durable and reflective materials so that it stays strong and can be easily spotted in an emergency situation.
Additionally, ACR RapidDitch Bags include innovative shoulder straps that unhook from the bag to transform them into two four-foot safety harnesses that can be clipped onto your life jacket and used to keep your crew connected and secure while in the water.
Add a dry bag into your ditch bag for all items you don’t want to get wet like your phone, wallet, and medicines. The RapidDitch bags are designed to float, but once you open them water will pour in, so store your items in zip lock bags and dry bags inside. You want it floating in the water rather than weighing down or sinking your life raft.
It also needs to be made from lightweight materials, as you want the overall weight of the bag to be as low as possible so that it’s easy to carry.
An Emergency Position-Indicating Radio Beacon or EPIRB
Having an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) is vital for anyone venturing into the great outdoors or setting sail on the open water. In an emergency situation, such as a boat capsize, medical emergency onboard, or any situation requiring Coast Guard, an EPIRB becomes your lifeline.
It broadcasts a distress signal to search and rescue authorities, enabling them to quickly locate and aid you. With precise GPS location tracking and long-lasting battery life, an EPIRB significantly increases your chances of survival and prompt rescue.
The ACR GlobalFix V5 AIS EPIRB and V6 RLS EPIRB are two of the most advanced EPIRBs in the world today meeting the latest regulations. They operate for a minimum of 48 hours and flash both a white and infrared strobe to assist Coast Guard in locating you.
A personal locator beacon (PLB)
Using innovative satellite technology, a PLB is a device that you can activate to send a distress signal to nearby search and rescue teams.
A PLB uses GPS satellites to help rescuers pinpoint your exact location so they can find you and your crew.
The ACR ResQLink AIS Personal Locator Beacon is the most advanced device on the market today and is absolutely essential for any dry bag.
The ResQLink boasts innovative technology, such as its automatic identification system (AIS), which can alert nearby boats of your emergency and give them your location. This means other crews can start a rescue mission without waiting for authorities.
You can also purchase a floatation pouch at an affordable price for your ResQLink AIS PLB, which provides an additional layer of protection, allowing the device to float.
Be sure to occasionally check that your PLB works by self-testing it.
Life jacket lights
Of course, life jackets are key to surviving a boating emergency. But you can improve the efficiency of your life jacket by investing in a light that attaches to it. This makes it easier for rescue teams to find you in the water and can help increase visibility in bad weather or at night.
The HemiLight™3 MED and SOLAS Life Jacket Light attaches to almost all life jackets and has quick and easy installation steps to follow. It’s smaller than most lights and features round edges so that it doesn’t damage the jacket you wear. Additionally, it will also conveniently attach to the RapidDitch bag strap providing a visual signal for rescuers to locate.
This high-quality flashing LED light automatically activates for over 20 hours as soon as it comes into contact with water.
A whistle can help you draw attention when you need it most, making it an essential component of any ditch bag.
The WW-3 ResQ™ Whistle is a small product specially designed to locate boaters who have fallen overboard. However, it can also aid in land rescues, making it a versatile and necessary item.
The ACR whistle issues a shrill dual tone up to 100 decibels and its unique flat design prevents it from holding water. Its 31.5-inch (80 cm) lanyard easily attaches to life jackets, rafts, and other gear.
Including emergency signaling devices such as flares in your dry bag is highly recommended. They can be used to attract attention and signal for help.
The ACR ResQFlare is a high-intensity LED electronic distress boat flare. This product, available at an excellent price, is intended to replace traditional pyrotechnic flares on most boats.
Our ResQFlare provides 360-degree visibility for over six miles, boasting over 20 hours of burn time, significantly improving your chances of being found in an emergency.
The warranty for this flare is one year, meaning you don’t have to replace it often.
A Life-Saving Investment
A well-prepared ditch bag that includes essential safety gear results in a higher chance of being rescued from emergency events.
An innocent fishing day, for example, can turn into a complete disaster if you don’t carry the right products in your ditch bags.
When shopping for your gear, it’s worth looking for brands that provide special offers and great deals. However, you can’t put a price on survival—your purchases are worth every penny.
Where to Find the Best Survival Gear
We stock a wide range of affordable boating safety gear that you can include in your ditch bag, which along with your raft help protect you and your crew in the event of an emergency.
As a customer, we know there are many top brands to choose from when it comes to survival gear, but we can assure you we have your best interests and safety in mind with each product we’ve designed.
Our global dealers and online store are the perfect places to find all the gear you need for your ditch bag to ensure you’re fully prepared for emergencies before embarking on your next boating adventure. Our products have excellent customer reviews for their advanced safety solutions and rugged design.
If you have any questions about our products or finding the right gear for your ditch bag, feel free to contact our customer support team, who are ready to help.