Recently, I had the (dis)pleasure of being stuck on a boat for 5 days. I thought I'd write my experiences, ideas and other ramblings so that maybe someone could learn from them.

First off, I wasn't in any extreme danger, at least not at that time. I was, however, stranded on a boat for 5 days, due to the weather.

Everything started out great. We boarded the boat with all the dive gear, food and other provisions. The boat was over 50' long, large diesel engine and water tanks. Standard stuff really.

After we made it to our destination overnight, we woke up to some fantastic diving. We had several great dives. We stayed at the location overnight, with the intention to move to a different place during the night, which we attempted, but were turned back due to high winds and 10-12 foot seas. We sheltered on the leeward side of the island all that night. No worries, we weren't expected back for 4 more days anyway, so we'd stay at the location until the weather improved. Good plan.

We dove all that day and attempted the journey to the other place the following day as well, but still no luck. We repeated this process for the next several days.

By day 4, things were getting tense. We were supposed to be back on dry land that day however, we were still stuck at the island. Most of the passengers were worried now about informing families and work about the delay. But most cell phones either didn't work or were dead. We managed to get ONE phone to work intermittently and got a few messages out. So we were ok for the time being. It shocked the hell out of me that a phone would even get a signal, let alone work. we were over 30nm from mainland.

The crew then informed me that the food was running low. Maybe another day or so. Hmm. Water was a big question now, in my mind.

On day 5, we managed to push through and get home. After traveling from early morning, to late night, we were finally home, safe.

A lot of things happened on the trip. A lot of questions were unanswered before we left. A good experience all around, for me. I discovered a lot of things about me and the people I was with.

Here are some thoughts;

Bring cell phones AND chargers. Better yet, a SAT phone would be a great idea, and fairly cheap to rent. Cheap insurance.

Have plenty of items for exposure protection. Skin, lips, etc.

Make a COMPLETE plan and leave it with someone back home. Play "What if" a lot before you go and plan for the worst.

Know the area you're going to. CHECK THE WEATHER! Better yet, a weather radio would have been great.

I now have a new found respect for the barometer. I have on on my EDC watch amd it was invaluable. Nice to have.

Plan on not having communications.

Think ahead of language issues with passengers/crew. A small dictionary would have been nice.

A deck of playing cards would have been worth millions.

A few days worth of personal food would have been a great idea. Instead of snack stuff, bring a few MRE's

Survival may not always involve just yourself. Think ahead about controlling fear, panic and other emotions of the others around you. They usually aren't as prepared as you are, therefore more prone to fear and panic. Although I knew I was prepared, not everyone around me was. Most would have done just fine, we were a hardy group, however, some may not have been.

Locate for yourself all items for safety and rescue. Beacons, rafts, lifejackets, radios, etc.

Speaking of radios, learn to use a marine radio if you might have to use it. As well as GPS's on the boat and other items you may need to be safe.

I know most of these things are items we always preach to be better prepared, but a situation like this reinforces the ideas even more.

I'm not looking for "you should have done ___". If you have constructive ideas, please let me know.

Thanks for letting me ramble on. It helps me remember things and better prepare next time.