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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm getting close to moving my trawler from MDR to CI. I've been paying close attention to getting her running, charging, and steering. But I haven't thought a lot about basic safety items. I have EPIRB, radios, cellphone, GPS, and an almost wired radar. The anchor is in my garage and I need to get chain and rode. (I already know the size and length of both. I just have to buy them.) Bilge pumps are working. (the heads are not working but I got a 5 gallon bucket) Two new fire extinguishers are on board. Vessel assist gold card. I'll be letting them know my float plan and will be in contact throughout the trip with them as this is also my shakedown trip. What other basic safety items do I need for this rtip? Lifevests of course - recommendations please? Will an air horn work ok just for this trip? It would be nice to have a perfect boat all set up with DVD and hot showers before moving her but that aint gonna happen. The slip in CI is already "bought and paid for" a couple months ago.
 

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Basic Safety Equipment = Autopilot, XM Radio and a cooler full of beer! :D Don't forget to keep that 5 gallon bucket from sloshing around! x(
 

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Will,

I would suggest a ditch bag:
WHATâ??S A DITCH BAG?

Essentially, a ditch bag is a buoyant, waterproof bag specially designed to keep safety gear and emergency supplies self-contained, protected and ready for immediate deployment. It should be built strong using rugged waterproof fabrics, sealed seams and durable zippers designed to last for years in the tough conditions at sea.

â??When you have no choice but to go in the water, a ditch bag should go with you,â?? says Chris Wahler, director of marketing for manufacturer ACR Electronics. â??On boats, safety gear has a way of spreading out and getting buried all over the place, which is the last thing you want in an emergency. A ditch bag keeps your most critical safety items in one place and at the ready,â?? explains Wahler.

Ditch bags are nothing new to professional mariners and serious recreational boaters. For boats with the storage capacity, models such as ACRâ??s RapidDitch bag or the Survivor bag from Revere Supply Co. provide the ability to hold a wide range of electronics, safety gear, signaling devices, emergency supplies and more. The bags themselves are not particularly expensive; suggested retail price for the ACR RapidDitch bag is $122, while the Revere Survivor lists for $130.

ACR recently took strides in increasing the appeal of ditch bags to trailer boaters with the introduction of its downsized RapidDitch Express bag (MSRP $99). In addition to being smaller (19x15x7 inches), the Express model comes with a cloth mounting-bracket for securing to a bulkhead and retrieving it quickly in an emergency. This is important, considering the limited storage on most trailer boats. Safety gear ends up buried under clothes, tackle boxes, buckets and other items inside a locker, console or cabin, and as Flederâ??s experience showed, there may be no time to dig it out.

The Express has many of the same features of its larger cousin, including an exterior EPIRB pocket for fast activation, internal pockets, an elastic daisy chain organizer and four snap-hook tethers to keep gear in its assigned place. A see-through mesh pocket sewn on the outside holds an inventory check list of the bagâ??s contents and expiration dates, making it easy to determine if batteries, flares and medications are current. A tether strap can be attached to a lifejacket, leaving hands free for holding on to a child or using a radio to communicate with rescuers.

Revere also offers a downsized product called the Pains Wessex SOS Grab Bag. Measuring roughly 23 inches high by 12 inches wide, the SOS Grab Bag will float and is made of splash-proof polyurethane nylon material. Affordable (about $50) and small enough to fit in a boatâ??s locker, the SOS Grab Bag could accommodate basic safety supplies for smaller boats close to shore, or vessels on inland waterways.

SAFETY IS IN THE BAG

Of course, itâ??s what goes into a ditch bag that determines its usefulness if you abandon ship. While the bags themselves are relatively inexpensive, the cost of the safety equipment inside can quickly mount up. Both ACR and Revere offer recommendations on what to place in your ditch bag, but it is up to each boatowner to decide what he needs based on how and where he boats, the type of vessel he owns and his budget.

In most nearshore applications, your primary concern will be alerting potential rescuers and helping them locate you quickly. Items such as handheld flares, plastic whistles, signal mirrors and compact strobe lights should be in any ditch bag. A waterproof handheld VHF radio is also a must to communicate with the U.S. Coast Guard and other rescue agencies. Boaters can choose from many quality waterproof VHF radios available through manufacturers such as Icom, Standard Horizon and Uniden. Both ACR and Pains Wessex build VHF radios specially designed for emergency use. ACRâ??s 2727 Survival Radio (MSRP $699) floats, transmits emergency distress signals on VHF channels 6 and 16, receives all maritime simplex channels â?? including weather â?? and meets new GMDSS (Global Maritime Distress Safety System) specifications. It is designed to be stored in a ditch bag or life raft for up to five years without losing its charge, and can be submersed to a depth of 10 feet without damage.

The new Pains Wessex Rescue VHF Radio (MSRP $775) also floats, is waterproof and shock proof, and exceeds all GMDSS specifications. It transmits and receives on VHF channels 6, 13 and 16. The Rescue VHF Radio has a long-life lithium main battery and an alkaline test battery with a four-year shelf life.

A waterproof, handheld GPS can come in handy to alert rescuers to your position. Coordinates from your portable GPS might also help salvage crews to locate your vessel in near-shore waters. These are widely available, accurate and affordable enough to keep an extra fully-charged unit in their ditch bag. A prime example of the breed is the Magellan SporTrak handheld (MSRP $169). Itâ??s waterproof, floats and has a WAAS (Wide Area Augmentation System) receiver with 3-meter accuracy.

Boaters who frequently fish or cruise far from shore should consider an EPIRB, a device that transmits a distress and position signal upon activation (manually, or automatically upon immersion in water). The most common models are 406 MHz units, and they are available with or without internal GPS receivers. Positional accuracy for units without GPS receivers is usually about 3 miles, so a search-and-rescue effort might take more time. Units with internal GPS transmit your latitude/longitude position to within 100 meters, and the position is updated and retransmitted periodically.

Both ACR and Pains Wessex manufacture a variety of 406 MHz models with list prices ranging from under $1000 to more than $2000. ACR offers a Mini B 300 ILS personal EPIRB (selling in one marine catalog for $129) that clips onto your life vest and transmits a locator signal on a 121.5 MHz (civilian) frequency. And if youâ??re really into nifty gadgets, Pains Wessex offers The Guardian, a waterproof digital wristwatch that automatically transmits a 121 MHz homing signal upon immersion in water, capable of reaching rescue craft up to 1/2 nautical mile away. The Guardian sells for about $399. Another useful item is the Distress S.O.S. Light from ACR (MSRP $44), a waterproof flashlight that flashes an S.O.S. Morse code signal visible up to 22 miles.

There are many other small items that could speed rescue or make an extended stay in the water safer and more comfortable. These include a variety of flashlights, chemical light sticks, food and water rations, sunscreen, lip balm and a packaged thermal blanket (for when youâ??re pulled from the water).

SHOULD YOU CARRY ONE?

Thereâ??s no doubt that a fully equipped ditch bag is a considerable investment. Like safety gear in general, it always looks expensive until you need it. Then, suddenly, it becomes the best investment you ever made.

â??Iâ??ll never get on any boat again without one,â?? says survivor Fleder. â??Thatâ??s why I took my ditch bag with me down to Mexico for a fishing trip on a small charterboat. Iâ??m going to take it with me on my friendâ??s boats. Iâ??m even going to take it with me when I go on big passenger vessels,â?? he adds.
Ask yourself this question: If disaster strikes, are you prepared to make a last ditch effort to save the life of your crew? If the answer is no, we urge you to make up a ditch bag for your vessel. In a worst-case scenario, itâ??s more than a grab bag â?? itâ??s a life-saver.

Editorâ??s Note: Wherever possible, manufacturerâ??s suggested list prices were used in this story. Street prices are often considerably less, as much as 50-percent less, as noted in some discount marine catalogs.

Abandon Ship Tips
Chris Wahler, marketing director for ACR Electronics, suggests these five tips in the case of an â??abandon shipâ?? emergency:

1. Stay with your boat as long as possible. You should remain in (or on, if capsized) your boat as long as itâ??s even partially afloat. This not only keeps you warmer, it makes you far more visible to other boats and aircraft.
2. Tell your crew about the ditch bag. New passengers should be familiar with its location, its contents and their use, just in case youâ??re incapacitated. They should know how to handle an emergency radio call.
3. Store or mount your bag in an accessible location. Make sure you can get to it quickly and that access wonâ??t be blocked by gear, tackle or other equipment. A cabin bulkhead, overhead or under the gunwale are good locations.
 

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Sounds like you've got your stuff together.

Assuming you've got your stuff together with regards to navigating and communicating, I would suggest, at minimum, 2 sets of ground tackle AND a sea anchor so you can secure your vessel if need be.

Take several complete sets of fuel filters, filter wrenches as necessary, and enough diesel in jerry jugs to refill your racors and spin ons if you have to change them out while under-way( a not uncommon occurence on maiden voyages of long sitting diesel boats).

Signalling stuff: lots of flares, handheld and meteor. Parachute flares if you have the spare change. A scad of flashlights and spare batteries... and a brinkman million candlepower handheld spotlight. Nothing worse than groping around a dark boat.

Just for the heck of it, on a maiden voyage I'd carry a spare fresh automotive starting battery. 750 cranking amps, and a set of jumper cables. Ya never know.

Do a local shakedown run for a couple hours to make sure your fuel system is good to go. Many maiden voyages end up at the end of a tow rope simply because of crud in the fuel system.

A can of splash zone is nice to have on hand if a seam goes south... a ring of toilet bowl wax.... tapered wood plugs equal to your thru hulls. Extra hose clamps for your raw water and exhaust components and fuel lines.

JB Weld.

spare belts, impellers

maybe some 1/4 inch plywood and deck screws, a hand saw and power drill.

bolt cutters

just off the top of my head...

sano
 

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I like Frank's comments on a ditch bag a lot, but a ditch bag might get away from you once overboard, especially if you get injured going over, or you may not be able to get to it before the boat goes down. If you only have seconds to act, you might only have time to grab one thing, and personally I would rather grab a vest I could wear in the water than a bag I had to hold on to. This is why I'd recommend a life vest with a few essentials attached to and/or within it.

First, a quality Type-I life vest with closing pockets, something that will keep you upright if you loose consciousness:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product/10001/-1/10001/245133/10001/158/106/8

A personal EPRIB:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/producte/10001/-1/10001/136071/0/0/GPS/All_2/mode%20matchallpartial/150/0

A handheld VHF/DSC/GPS combo in waterproof bag:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/producte/10001/-1/10001/126854/0/0/GPS%20VHF/All_2/mode+matchallpartial/0/0
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product/10001/-1/10001/31644

Some manual signalling equipment:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product/10001/-1/
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product/10001/-1/10001/263261/10001/51/50/8

A high-quality water-activate strobe firmly attached to the outside of the jacket:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/product/10001/-1/10001/34078/10001/51/50/8

A survival/safety knife:
http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/producte/10001/-1/10001/135426/0/0/KNIFE/All_2/mode%20matchallpartial/0/0
 

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somebody might have already said this, so forgive me if i'm repeating someone. but you might be required to carry a life-ring. aka a throwable type pfd.


Gettin' Ugly
Glendon
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
autopilot = bungy cord on each side of the wheel?

I have a 1 gallon bucket for you, Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
thanks for the suggestion, frank. The ditch bag is on the list for after I move (as will be some sort of raft). The safety items for this specific trip will be ondeck and not stowed away.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
>Sounds like you've got your stuff together.

The fuel was the first to depart this boat. one tank is inop until replacement in the coming year. the other tank had access panels installed and the interior epoxied. It has 25 gallons of fresh diesel to be augmented with another 150+++++ on the way out of MDR.

the fuel filter will be replaced after a few more runnings in the slip to make sure the cooling system is full and working. New raw and fresh water pumps have been installed as well as a rebuilt alternator.

new batteries include D8, 4-T125s, and a group 24. jumper cables are a good idea.

The 2-4 people who make this trip with me will be asked to bring a few of the items you have mentioned - flashlights,

>A can of splash zone is nice to have on hand if a seam goes
>south... a ring of toilet bowl wax.... tapered wood plugs
>equal to your thru hulls. Extra hose clamps for your raw
>water and exhaust components and fuel lines.

The boat is all fiberglass. I'm not picturing "seams"????
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
thanks for the links, ken. i think that i'll start with 2 - TypeI and ask my "crew" if they have additional vests to bring along.

>somebody might have already said this, so forgive me if i'm
>repeating someone. but you might be required to carry a
>life-ring. aka a throwable type pfd.

You just added another item to my list, Glendon. 1/4" or 3/8" rope for this?
 

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>A can of splash zone is nice to have on hand if a seam goes
>south... a ring of toilet bowl wax.... tapered wood plugs
>equal to your thru hulls. Extra hose clamps for your raw
>water and exhaust components and fuel lines.

wils said: The boat is all fiberglass. I'm not picturing "seams"????

SANO: LOL. I was envisioning a wood trawler.
Still, a can of splash zone is a neat thing to have. It's one of those things it's better to have and not need, than to need and not have. Same for the wax and plugs.
 

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John, Curious as to the forward and aft high water alarms. I put one in on mine that is basically at the low point of the bilge, which in my case happens to be about 6 feet forward of the centerline. Is this for redundancy purposes?
 

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i guess a guy could get away with just one ...i sometimes forget that load levels don't change much on a recreational vessel....i usually hope my waterline is about 8 inches deeper on return than it was upon leaving... :)
 

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Bill,
I have three in the Bertram, yep its a small boat, but I know exactly whats going on at any time. I have one in the forward section for when the boat is stopped, one in the engine room and one more alarm and a pump alarm in the stern for when were underway. The pump alarm is my way of knowing the frequency of pump cycles if any and how much it's pumping, the stern alarm float is 6" above the pump float and that would give me a second chance if the stern pump failed. Way overkill, but a long time ago I boarded friend's boat who was just drunk enough to not feel the weight of his partly filled bilges and had I not boarded, he was headed for a swim.

Mike

My-Tie
Bertram 28



 
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