-- Last Updated: Apr-11-07 10:24 AM EST --

I am exposed coastal kayaker, 1/2 mile to 1 mile offshore, questions: ditch kit, special rigging, eqpmnt, tow ropes, flares, throw bag, daisy chain, etc. What goes in your pfd vs. on-below deck? I have paddle float and sponsons. What do you have for a bad offshore swim? Is one pump enuf?


Pick up a copy
of Doug Anderson’s book on kayak tips. Alot of things to learn there.

is ‘kit’ an anglo thing?

Coastal ditching…

Too many quesitons without additional info. Worst case is boat loss and it is you alone in the water. My PFD always contains a VHF and some pocket rocket flares. I also use a widemouth Nalgene bottle as a ditch kit with other flares, firestarter materials, energy food, flashlight, leatherman knife tool, line, pocket warmers, plastic bag, and whatever I can carry in there. This bottle has a 'biner that I can attach to me or the seat. I also use Pelican small boxes for keys, wallet, cell phone and other valuables I might take paddling with me. When I paddle alone, I find that one pump is all I can use at a time, and will carry a paddle float. I also carry spare clothes in a drybag in a hatch.

ditch kit
thanks, nalgene a good idea - a variation of one authors old peanut butter jar idea that I forgot

My ditch gear

– Last Updated: Apr-24-07 5:45 PM EST –

On/in my pfd, I carry a titanium knife, a storm whistle, and a safety sausage.

Just bought a signaling mirror to add to vest.

I bought a packet of marker dye at an army surplus store, am not sure I will carry it, it's a bit bulky.

I don't carry flares in my vest - it's a personal choice, but I don't like pyrotechnics that close to my face.

I have a Nalgene widemouth bottle that contains:
1 packet emergency water
2 energy bars
1 Space blanket
3 pencil flares
One of those magnesium block fire starters

My watch has a little compass on it.

That's about it.

I carry
a VHF, whistle, and signaling mirror in my pfd pockets and a knife on it.

In a dry bag in my day hatch I carry a 12 gauge flare pistol and 5-6 flares, 2 smokes flares, and 1 parachute flare. It also contains duct tape, a heavy duty trash bag, and electrical tie wraps for repairs.

In a separate waterproof container, I carry my first aid kit.

Additionally, I also wear a tow belt (even if paddling solo) that I can use to tether the boat to me if necessary so that I can scramble up rocks or whatever to land without losing my boat.


– Last Updated: Apr-25-07 3:53 PM EST –

#1 killer is hypothermia, of course. Nice to have a way to potentially increase your chances of avoiding the #1 killer as your boat drifts off. Instead of a 'hydration bag' I stick my Sea-Seat in the back pocket of my PFD.

The gentleman listed at the bottom of the article passed away about 4 years ago. Welshman living in BC--bought a boat from him--only VCP dealer in BC and now there aren't any as far as I know--nice guy. But, as far as I know, he was the only source for these. Haven't heard a thing about them since his death.

They would actually be quite simple to make. If you've made float bags out of oxford heat sealable nylon, you could make one of these. They're about 3' square (slightly trapezoid shaped with the bigger end being where your legs hang off the Sea-Seat), sealed on the edges and with about a 10-12" cirle in the middle where the two layers are heat sealed together. Lanyard grommeted to a corner.

Somewhere, someone has the design and tools to mass produce these as they are obviously professionally manufactured.

as little as possible
Whatever you decide to carry, your primary goal will be to get back in the boat or to shore in an extreme situation. Practice rolls and reentry with whatever gear you choose and make sure it is not more of a hindrance than a help. I personally prefer to carry as little as possible on deck or attached to my PFD.

A half mile to a mile off shore is not…
very far.

A PFD is required by law to be on your boat.

The two things that I won’t go out without are a pump and a paddle float.

Some things that I take but are not necessary are a spare paddle and a VHF radio.

On a short day paddle I always have one water bottle. On a all day paddle two.

My wife, (who is my paddling partner) usually has the cell phone along, but our rule out there is it stays in a dry bag and is only for an emergency. She also brings a bunch of energy snacks and a lunch, a couple of silver mylar emergency wraps, all of which in in the compartments.

Depending on the trip and time of year we bring more such as a rigging knife, extra set of clothes, etc