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Sailing is supposed to be fun. No one likes to think about a sailboat capsizing. And, likely it won't. But it's good practice to equip your boat with an 'abandon ship' kit, anyway. This kit should be well packed and able to float should it go overboard. Many sailing experts will tell you that staying with your watercraft is the best idea when an emergency happens. But, some circumstances do call for you and your sailing crew to abandon ship. These circumstances include a sinking boat, fire or an unsafe vessel. An abandon ship kit may be one of the most important sailing accessories you carry.
Here is what this kit should contain: A hand-held VHF radio that is waterproof or packed in a waterproof case; blankets for hypothermia; a filled water bottle (check regularly to ensure freshness); a compass; supplies for fishing; basic tools and a first-aid kit.
In your first-aid kit, carry these items: seasickness medication, sterile bandages and anti-bacterial soap and ointment, sunblock and directions on treating basic illness and cuts.
This kit will vary according to the type of sailing you do. If you plan an offshore trip, carry more supplies including more snacks. Make sure your kit is in a floatable device -- even the best abandon ship bag is usless if it sinks before you can grab it.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|