Grab Bags

Grab your bag

Anyone who knows me, recognises  I have a bit of a Mary Poppins handbag. Enormous, bottomless, full of impractical  “crap” and completely useless in an emergency.

No one wants to abandon ship, but knowing what to pack in  grab bags could one day make a short stay in a life raft more bearable and might even save your life

You need to chuck out the sticky fluffy boiled sweets, the crumpled tissues, odd loose change, leaky biro and pack these essential items instead. Remember you will never ditch in a warm mill-pond calm sea under cloudless blue skies. It will be dark, cold, blowing a hooley and hissing down with rain.

Essential Items

Handheld VHF
Essential to communicate with the rescue services.  A DSC-enabled VHF with integral GPS would be a great help. Waterproof and floatable is useful Cold wet hands drop things so add a lanyard to hang round your neck.
Navigation tools
A handheld GPS will let you communicate your position accurately to a potential rescuer, as well as work out your drift rate.  A hand bearing compass is a good back up. Cold wet hands drop things so add a lanyard to hang round your neck.
Reading glasses
Essential to peer at the tiny buttons on the radio in the gloom – Cheap, flexible plastic ones will do. Poundland do a nice range. Cold wet hands drop things so add a lanyard to hang round your neck.
Torch
A good torch is important. Something waterproof and powerful. Essential to illuminate tiny buttons on radio. Pack spare batteries, cold water is notorious for draining power.. A strobe function is particularly useful. Cold wet hands drop things so add a lanyard to hang round your neck.
Knife
Make sure it’s sheathed or is a safety knife . One of those multi tool knifes are useful. The type boy scouts use to get stones out of horses hooves. Cold wet hands drop things so add a lanyard to hang round your neck.
Flares
Hmmm. Remember they are classed as EXPLOSIVES. A decent strobe torch or one of the newer LED flares are a better idea. Not a good idea to hang them around your neck.
Food
Some sort of high-energy food, like chocolate, as well as something that releases energy more slowly, like a fruit/nut mix, is good for keeping energy levels and spirits up. Keep them in the bag. Hanging them around your neck will make them go soggy.
Foil blankets
You may look like a ready basted turkey but they are essential for helping cold people warm up. They are not expensive, but could keep hypothermia at bay.
Personal effects
What is the point reaching terra firma if you can’t drive home, unlock the front door once you get there or being unable to call a taxi due to lack of funds and phone? Include your house/car keys, wallet, credit cards and mobile phone in the bag whenever you set off somewhere. Common sense but I guess most of us forget. I know we do.
Finally…
A small pack-towel to dry off with, a hair brush and decent lippy, well have you seen some of these hunky lifeboat men??
Last but not least, a neck brace, you have some considerable weight around your neck.