Boating Safety: Your “Go Bag” or “Ditch Bag”


Every time you go out boating, you should be sure to take the following items in a “Go Bag” or “Ditch Bag”.

Keep your bag in the same place in your house, somewhere easily accessible, so you will be sure to grab it every time you go boating.

Always keep it fully stocked — never “borrow” items from it for home use!


  • Binoculars
  • Cell Phone / Water Proof Case
  • G.P.S (Global Positioning System)
  • Hand-held VHF radio
  • Paper Navigation Chart — in case your electronics fail 

Survival Aids

  • Energy Bars
  • First Aid Kit
  • Plastic garbage bags — for trash, rain protection, use as flags or increase boat visibility
  • Spare reading glasses — in case your lose your own pair
  • Sun tan lotion
  • Water

Safety/Rescue Equipment

  • Batteries — make sure you have all the types you need for all the different items in your bag
  • Canned air horn (plus small spare)
  • Flash light
  • Hand-held Compass
  • Inflatable vest or Type 1 PFD (Personal Flotation Device)
  • Laser flare
  • Leatherman-style multi-tool
  • Plastic wire ties
  • P.L.B (Personal Location Beacon) — this is registered to your person, not to your vessel
  • Self-adhering waterproof black tape
  • Signalling mirror
  • Whistle

Protective Clothing/Covering

  • Aluminum blanket
  • Foul weather gear (heavy-duty rain gear)
  • Headscarf/bandana
  • Lightweight jacket
  • Polarized sun glasses
  • Quick-drying towel

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