HSE (health, safety and enviroment) is something that we all should take seriously. I have noticed that we tend to pay attention to the enviromental subjects, but this question by Fysh (damn good one) is the first I have seen since becoming a member that concerns health and safety.
Speaking only for myself I am not as spry as I used to be and when tromping thru the woods and climbing over boulders prospecting for fishing holes I need to start letting someone know the general area to start looking if I don't make it back by the dinner bell.
This is a subject much broader than just boats and should be discussed more often.
I agree with Frank. Some kind of locator or GPS and maps of adjacent areas. Besides all that was mentioned I'd include a drybag with a change of clothing/socks/boots, preferably some fleece/wool/goretex, a good hat, cell phone/radio, headlamps, food/small stove, waterfilter, ID/old dogtags, and a good whistle! Don't forget a days or 2 worth of food to get you by. Add some binoculars, gloves or first aid kit.
I try not to load myself down but when float tripping I just take the box out of the power boat. In there are:
Air horn (aerosol)
Bear spray (two big ones)
Flares & flare gun
Fire extinguisher (small)
First Aid Kit (with suctcher kit & butterfly bandages for the worst of it)
Thanks for your input.
I'd like to get a few more folks to chime in and then make a "basic list" and then a more "advanced list". Starting to see a few things are being mentioned more than once, that's a good thing.
I like the idea of carrying a sutcher kit. Until the kids tore it up I had a flashlight that was self charging by just shaking it for a couple of seconds. It would give a bright light for about 15 seconds, good to have since you never had to worry about batteries.
My last float for the 2010 season ended with us an hour from the take out after the sun went down. I always bring my work Flashlight in the boat. It saved the day!! With out that light there is just way to much trouble to get in floating in the dark. Even if you don't think you'll be out after dark take a light, you never know what will happen. We stopped and worked to many riffles for feeding fish!
End of duck season a year ago, I went thru the ice twice in one day. I was already giving some hard thought to better prep and gear for my day trips because someone in my hunting group went int he water in waders.
I'd always schooled my youth hunters never to walk away from the truck (deer) hunting without a well supplied daypack. But I carried little in the way of supplies for a day fishing or a day in the blind.
Now when I paddle the canoe out to an island for ducks, I have a set of dry clothes and other supplies wrapped up in my old (patched) waders.
Read the story in the new Drake magazine about the guy who shattered (shadoobie) his leg in a fall while fishing and waited 5 days on the rocks, in the water for rescue. It'll make you think.
I would tie myself off with paracord and a carabiner to a floating dry bag. Tied off to it so that if the boat goes over, it's going to be with me, but use the carabiner and light paracord so that if you go in the drink and the bag becomes waterlogged or gets caught, you will be able to get shed of it to prevent drowning. A floating bag so that you can use it as additional floatation if you go in for an unplanned swim.
Who needs a first aid kit if you are dead?? This is a very dangerous suggestion, and in all likelihood if it were common river practice, it would kill more capsized boaters than it would save. Please folks respect the river, and the power of water, boat safe and boat smart, don't tie yourself to anything. There is plenty working against you already once you are swimming and not boating. Free floatin, feet first, with your nifty pfd after a capsize is your best bet. Anchored to your boat, rocks, logs etc... via your emergency kit, in heavy waters, is a sure way to reduce your chances of survival.