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Offshore Academy-Capt. Scott Goodwin Thread, Some thoughts on Safety Prep in TribeNwater Fishing; A ditch bag is a collection of safety items one might need if you have to abandon ship for any ...
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Old 06-16-2008, 07:04 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Some thoughts on Safety Prep

A ditch bag is a collection of safety items one might need if you have to abandon ship for any reason, be it sinking or fire. The idea is to have the key items such as your flares, dye markers, whistles, first aid kit, handheld VHF radio and epirb if it is not mounted on the vessel. I use a waterproof bag and keep it within easy reach from my helm. If you need it at all, your going to need it quick!

Don't forget to check the expiration dates on your flares and other pyrotechnic devices. The "man" won't forget to check. I like to keep some of my expired flares in the bag, because they will probably still work and I wan't as many chances as possible. However, you should label and seperate the good flares from the expired flares for your knowledge. It is also better when being checked, if you can hand over the good ones right away.

Charge your hand held VHF often if you carry one.

Let your fishing buddies know that you have a ditch bag, where it is and what is in it. Same with the location of life jackets and fire extinguishers. Just develop a safety speech for the beginning of your trip. Don't assume that you know where it is. You may be the one knocked out. A radio check is a great idea before each trip, as that may be your only link to help. Ask their location to make sure they are not beside you at the ramp.

Can any of your passengers get the boat home if you had a problem? A quick lesson on how to get a heading home and that the emergency channel is16 would'nt hurt.

Let a friend, wife, girlfriend or someone know your basic plan for the day. Plan to check back in with them as you arrive home. Make sure they know what to do if you don't call in. ie: phone #'s and such. Maybe the marina you left from, a fellow boater friend or the Coast Guard if needed.

A satellite phone has become very affordable and the ability to call from anywhere in the ocean is priceless. If you have one, tape the phone # for USCG on the phone itself and don't forget to charge it! Most are not waterproof so get a case or bag that is.

Take the time, it may save you!

If you carry a life raft, check it's last service date. The hydostatic release also has an expiration.

Make safey gear part of your fishing check list and you and your passengers will be better for it.

Here is a link the the Coast Guard Safety information site. From here you can determine what is required and prudent. USCG Safety Regulations

Last edited by Capt. Scott Goodwin; 06-16-2008 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 08-14-2008, 03:23 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A 42ft Egg Harbor went down off of NJ yesterday and it reminded me of this thread. Reports say that the boat went down in 8 minutes and the crew only had time to grab the hand held VHF and jump in the life raft. The E-PIRB did not deploy and went down with the boat. Luckily, they were able to use the hand held to contact a nearby vessel and all were rescued.

Good Samaritan rescues 5 from life raft near Barnegat Light, N.J. | Coast Guard News
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Old 08-14-2008, 05:12 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Thank God !! It's nice when the Big Guy is looking after you .
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Old 09-03-2008, 04:49 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Good post Capt.Scott.
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