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Old 09-28-2010, 11:58 AM   #1
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When last did you check the contents of your boat's "Grab Bag". Or, does this serve as a reminder to check it now?

Where do you stow it?

And, so that we can all compare notes, please list what you have in YOUR Grab Bag.
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Old 09-28-2010, 01:38 PM   #2
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Good reminder. Ours is rather pitiful, I must admit. That is largely because we're "coastal" cruising so that's our excuse

We live aboard so it also includes a packet of important papers and copies of car keys, safety deposit box key, and storage locker key that I imagine most cruisers wouldn't have aboard ship.

We would have to grab our handheld vhf radio going out the door as this kit still needs its own radio and epirb.

Our kit has water, military surplus rations, a dye packet, flare kit, signaling mirror, flashlight, strobe, manual signaling horn, 1 space blanket, sunblock, lip balm, small first aid kit (bandages, iodine, needles, thread, etc), a few meds (antihistamine, ibuprofen, EpiPen), handi-wipes, tampons, and toilet paper, 2 pairs of Wickdry type socks, 2 sets of lightweight fiberpile longjohns/shirts, thin polypro glove liners, 2 soft roll-up hats, 200 ft of floating 3/8" poly line, 200 ft of 1/4" polyester line.

What it still needs besides epirb, radio, includes fishing kit and a hand pump survival watermaker.

It is stowed at the base of the ladder from the companionway down to the main saloon.

It needs a better waterproof bag. Presently it is a duffle bag lined with a heavy-duty contractor trash bag inside another heavy-duty contractor trash bag (tied off individually) and each item in a ziplock or vac-bag. We've used this system of lining a bag with contractor trash bag during whitewater canoe trips and it DOES work to keep the contents dry during immersion, but still, we should invest in a better watertight duffle/floatbag.
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Old 09-29-2010, 04:24 AM   #3
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I can't believe no one else is "sharing" what they've got! I've spilled the beans that we don't even have a decent waterproof bag...
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Old 09-30-2010, 09:01 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redbopeep View Post

I can't believe no one else is "sharing" what they've got! I've spilled the beans that we don't even have a decent waterproof bag...
Don't have a grab bag, so can't help with contents. Now you know mine is empty!!!
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Old 09-30-2010, 02:42 PM   #5
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One of the problems I have in replying to some of the topics here is that I have so many stories, usually about something we've done wrong but came out okay after all, that I go on, and on, and on. At the expense of another one of those, here are my comments.

- Small kite

- flashlight that didn't need batteries (this particular item has changed faces over the years, but one type or another has always been in the bag)

- waterproof bag with passports, boat documents, whatever else pertinent at the time. No money.

- breakfast bars

- waterproof bag with alkaline batteries for hand-held VHF

- one gallon container of water

- lengths of light line

- mylar space blankets

- fishing line and hooks

Planned to go in if we ditched:

hand-held VHF radio that can also run on AA batteries

money and credit card

more water containers filled with water

EPIRB (with money in it. story here)

comments

- Waterproof bags: Friends used zip-lock bags to store their paper stuff in their ditch bag. Before setting out across the Pacific they checked it, and found that the ziplock bags weren't waterproof enough. Their cache of Traveler's Cheques were wet, signature illegible, mold growing. The work and cost involved in replacing them was significant and delayed their departure for several weeks.

- Money in our EPIRB. Peter sensibly figured that the EPIRB would go with us if we had to abandon the boat, and that it was a very good place to store some money for that eventuality. I guess it's normal to do it and forget it. Never have to think about it again. Almost an oops! I had to fly back to the US without Peter to tend to family issues one year, and he gave me the EPIRB to bring back for its scheduled battery replacement. Just before I left he realized that it was rather heavy and there was no reason to send the old battery with it, so he took it out. And found his cache of cash. Nobody would have gotten rich on the stash, but it would have been a sizeable bonus for the technician who opened up the EPIRB.

- Kite. This was my toy for amusing myself on the stern of the boat when I was bored, or just needed something different to pass the time. One of the books I read about somebody in a liferaft who saw large ships pass without seeing them gave me the idea of putting the little kite in our ditch bag. I thought that it might be another tool for getting somebody's attention. What I should have done was redo the kite fabric in silvery mylar for great reflectivity.

- batteries. We have a hand-held VHF that can run on AA batteries - alkaline or rechargeable NiMH. As committed as I am to using rechargeable batteries, they are not appropriate for a ditch bag. What one needs is alkaline batteries. The reason is that NiMH rechargeable batteries lose their charge gradually whether or not they are used. I believe it's a small number, such as 1% per day, but after 3 months they have lost almost their entire charge. So Alkaline batteries, which can be stored for years with no loss of power, are the batteries for our ditch bag.

- water. I carried these great 1-gallon and 6-liter plastic bottles in which I stored filtered water. I kept them replenished on passages, and they were immediately accessible should we have had to abandon ship. Each one had a handle, so we could tie them together and float them outside our dinghy/life raft if necessary. These were much easier to handle than 5-gallon jerry jugs.

- food for a ditch bag. Chocolate and hard-tack biscuits are the traditional life raft food stores. With good reason. Carbohydrates are easily digestible, provide immediate energy, and require less water to digest and metabolize than protein, an important consideration when water rationing is probably the most important challenge when adrift in the middle of the ocean. Our breakfast bars were our concession to modern provisions available everywhere. I don't like them because I don't like very many sweet foods, but they are excellent, and I found that they also worked very well when we encountered a large patch of bad weather. We could keep our strength up without my having to cook in heavy seas.
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Old 09-30-2010, 07:18 PM   #6
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A kite is a very good idea! Especially with a reflective bit on it. Hummm...I may have to go into kit flying.

Ziplocks--the "cheap" ones work and the name brand ones don't in my experience. Further, the ones with the little slider thing NEVER work to keep things dry--they simply frustrate me. We prefer seal-a-meal or vac- type packaging rather than ziplock type bags but do have some things in ziplock type bags. In particular, the clothing articles are in ziplocks.

I don't even know what's in the military ration packet--its the same stuff that hubby used to have on his person in case of ejecting over the water when he was flying for the US Navy. We don't have chocolate, gorp, or any bars in the ditch bag but must say that Baker's bittersweet chocolate is hard, doesn't melt easily, and isn't very sweet--we've used it on extended wilderness canoe trips for a pick-er-up-er. One can live without food for a very, very long time. One cannot exist so easily without water though.

We also have, in the boat, numerous gallon size containers of water that could be tied together and floated alongside a lifeboat/liferaft. Anytime we purchase something in a gallon container (water, cranberry juice, etc) that can be re-used we do so.

Batteries--we use rechargable ones too, but your comment about using the alkaline ones makes good sense. These days it is possible for people to get an inexpensive little solar panel just sized for things like cel phones and radios, so I wonder if that would be a good addition to the ditch bag?
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Old 10-01-2010, 10:36 AM   #7
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Thanks for the input folks there are ideas here I would never have thought of. Considering that hand held magnetos are now available and lighter than they used to and can recharge a cell phone in a pinch I wonder. But it comes down to space and cost and weight. So thanks again folks and will keep reading as it is very useful.

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Old 10-01-2010, 11:49 AM   #8
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I have a large supply of flashlights of all sizes and purposes. I have little LED ones in various places on the boat where they're needed. Two compartments that are deep and dark each have their own small flashlight. Before we first set out in the '80s I bought a little "no batteries needed" flashlight, that I think was called a "dynamo". One squeezed the trigger-handle to charge the light. That one was given away to a village in Papua New Guinea and was a very fair exchange for the crayfish they brought to us.

My next no battery needed one was a crank-handle flashlight. Then I found one that you shook, the magnet in the handle slid back and forth to charge the battery. That one was quite nice and I bought one for my scoutmaster brother so they would have light no matter what, but it was rather heavy. Recently I just saw a solar-charged flashlight that supposedly holds its charge for more than a year and it's also waterproof! Hybrid solar light I just bought a bunch of them for Christmas presents to all the drivers in my family. An internet search shows several other solar flashlights, though I didn't see another waterproof one.
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