9 Ditch-Bag Items for a Fishing Emergency

Here are some key items to include for your next trip

ditch-bag contents
Ditch-bag contentsCapt. Dave Lear

A well-equipped ditch bag is an item you hope is never necessary. But in the unlikely event a crew is forced into a life raft or open water, those provisions could prove life-saving. With offshore trips more common during the summer months, now is the perfect time to stock up or replenish your own ditch bag. Here are some key items to include:

VHF radio
VHF radioCapt. Dave Lear

Waterproof VHF Radio

This is a lifeline between nearby boats or searching aircraft or rescue vessels. Waterproof integrity is critical and make it a point to recharge or replace the batteries on a regular basis.

GPS unit
GPS unitCapt. Dave Lear

Waterproof GPS or PLB

A Personal Locator Beacon like those made by ACR Electronics or Ocean Signal, have transmitting beacons, homing signals and strobe so rescuers can find you quickly. A handheld GPS as a substitute permits a relay of an exact position via VHF. Like the radio, make sure power is available for either when you need it most.

signalling device
Signalling deviceCapt. Dave Lear

Signaling Devices

A day/night flare or two, signaling mirror and a nylon or plastic bright streamer will increase visibility to searchers. The sound of a whistle or small air horn can be heard much farther than shouting.

First Aid kit
First Aid kitCapt. Dave Lear

First Aid Kit

If someone is injured band-aids/gauze, antibiotic ointment and pain pills provide quick temporary relief. Sunscreen is another handy addition. Store the kit in a zip-lock or vacuum bag.

water
Water for ditch bagCapt. Dave Lear

Water Bottles

A person can survive quite awhile without food, but fresh water is critical. A few bottles will quench the thirst until help arrives.

Protein bars
Protein barsCapt. Dave Lear

Protein Bars

Include a couple of these for quick sustenance until everyone is back on terra firma eating a steak.

swiss army knife
Swiss Army knifeCapt. Dave Lear

Pocket Knife or Multi-Tool

Use these handy tools for any number of chores, from cutting adhesive tape to quick repairs.

Rope ties
Rope tiesCapt. Dave Lear

Rope/Zip Ties

A light nylon rope or dock line and some zip ties can be used for rafting life jackets together or other unexpected needs.

Nautical chart
Nautical chartCapt. Dave Lear

Waterproof Navigation Chart

A waterproof chart won’t take up much space and could prove useful to pinpoint the last known location or the nearest point of land.