What I Learned

Organizing the kit

Having built and carried quite a number of abandon-ship kits over the years, I was surprised that the ORC established them as only a recommended item. Things can go wrong very fast on an offshore racer and having all the emergency gear packed in a handy bag should be considered a basic precaution.Because the sheer weight and volume of a ditch bag for a large crew can become too much to stow or handle easily, I often recommend breaking abandon-ship gear into two or more prioritized bags. The mandatory items are placed in one kit that is easy to access so that gear can be retrieved for maintenance or use without difficulty. Secondary items such as the ORC-mandated spare compass may be stored in another bag. If the crew is divided into two liferafts that might get separated at sea, duplicate ditch bags should be considered.