Preparation and training are the keys to success in any emergency, especially aboard your boat. Even when you are on a near-shore trip, it can take rescuers a significant amount of time to locate and reach you. You need to have an easy-to-execute safety plan for everyone aboard.
If there is a fire or the vessel is taking on water, would you have time to manage your passengers and collect all the things you need to execute your safety plan—including PFDs, a spare VHF, flares, first aid kit, EPIRB, air horn, and a flashlight?
When I first saw Life Cell’s Marine Safety Cases I immediately thought, “This is something every boater needs.” These watertight, highly buoyant, and impact-resistant gear cases/flotation devices can be loaded with all of your safety gear, greatly simplifying your safety plan. Life Cell calls them “the ultimate ditch cases,” and their design is based on the real-life rescue experience of Life Cell founder Scott Smiles. He and his three passengers were rescued after their 40-foot powerboat caught fire and sank. Smiles had just enough time to grab the EPIRB, PFDs, and portable cooler before jumping overboard. The cooler helped them stay afloat until help arrived, and that’s what inspired the design of the Life Cell cases.
A stainless steel mounting bracket lets you mount the case to an exterior rail (a bulkhead mounting bracket is also available). Installing the case in the pilothouse allows you to load up your fully charged VHF, flashlight(s), and any other safety gear that needs inspection just before departure. During your pre-departure safety briefing, you can show everyone on board where the case mounts and what it contains. Do this every time you leave the dock and you’ll greatly reduce the number of steps that need to be taken during an onboard emergency—and greatly increase your chances of survival.
$260–$420, depending on size