The MST Survival Pouch was featured in March 2006 The Aviation Consumer as the ideal overwater kit. Although originally designed for tight quarters aboard an aircraft cockpit, this fanny-pack design works great for all overwater applications including abandon-ship. If used for abandon ship, I would recommend adding a personal locater beacon (PLB).
Your objective as a in-the-water survivor is to get out of your survival situation as soon as possible. You are not going to do this unless you are found.
Pouch- Because this is a wearable fanny-pack it will be with you during and after you abandon ship. The top of the pouch holds a 14 function multi-function tool and the side of the pouch carrys a high intensity strobe light that can be activated without removing. There are two pieces of 3M highly retro-reflective tape on the top of the knife case and pouch sides as well.
*MPI High Intensity Strobe Light - Is a lightweight, battery-powered, flashing device creating a powerful beacon of high intensity bright white light visable for up to three miles. It flashes at the rate of 50-60 times per minute for 16 hours, then will continue to flash at a dimminishing rate for up to 40 hours. It is stowed in netting on side of pouch with a 36 inch piece of nylon line to prevent loss if it gets dropped. The strobe can be removed from the pocket and attached to a higher point with a pin clip.
*Whistle - Waterproof and very loud. You won't be heard by overflying aircraft, but you will be heard up to 2000 feet away by passing vessels. The sound of this whistle carries eight times further than the human voice and is distinct from sea gull clatter.
*Day/Night Signal Mirror - Signal Mirrors are said to be spotted up to 60 miles away by a high flying aircraft. As you bring to mirror shine ( 8 million candlepower) to the horizon, you will be signalling surface vessels up to about 15 miles out. Once in a survival situation, this device should never be stowed away. Tie it to your hat, wear as a necklace, or attach it to a top point of a liferaft. Let the signal continue work while you are busy with other chores. Both sides of the mirror reflect light, allowing you to use the moon or using a flashlight on the night (red) side.
*Waterproof Pelican Mini-LIght - Stowed in the front pocket for easy access, this little light puts out a strong light with long life. Use it to locate items in the pouch, signal with it, or just turn it on for peace and comfort.
Sea Dye Marker- (Daytime Use Only), From the air this signal can be spotted up to 3 miles away. It surrounds you with a fuorescent green glow in the water that extends with the current. This signal should only be used when you spot searching aircraft in your search area. Note: Can also be used on snow.
Space Blanket- Space blankets were designed for land use. The idea is to wrap it around you and the mylar material will keep your body heat from escaping. But, because of other important charcteristics of the mylar material, I have placed them in my overwater kits. As a water survivor, you will be exposed to two major advisories, hypothermia and sunburn.
By placing the opened space blanket over your head and tucking the ends into your shirt or lifevest, you have created an umbrella to shield you from direct rays of the sun.
Because much heat escapes through the top of your head, you are slowing the heat loss process.
The orange reflective mylar side makes an excellent visual signal from the air (silver side out at night).
The mylar material will target on a searching radar, thus making it a great radar signal.
12 Hour Safety Light Stick- I use the same safety light stick that the U.S. Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers use for night time re-location training. The helo drops them off at night and practices locating them with nightvision goggles.
*14 Function Multi-Purpose Tool- Is attached to the top of the pouch. It is a stainless steel tool with knife, pliers, crimp cutter, screwdrivers, etc. This tool is within quick reach and could be used for extraction purposes as well as everyday tool needs.
Nylon Line (20 feet) - Use this line to tie to other survivors or attach to a floating ditch bag.
Water Packets 4.227 OZ. (2 ea.) Without water, you can expect to survive about 2 to 3 days in the open sea. Do not ration water! During WWII many fell to the sea. Because of conditions in the battle arena, it sometimes took days or weeks to get to them. Because of this, they were trained to expect a long survival stay. The reasoning was, that if they held off from drinking water for a day or so, they would extend their survival time. Then, at the point where they just could'nt take it anymore, they drank the water. In most cases, it was too late because with dehydration, once you get behind the eight ball, it's nearly impossible to catch up. Because the human body is composed of over 70% water, it needs water to function. As your water level goes down, so does the ability to think clearly and physically perform survival techniques. By drinking the water up front, you can maintain the proper water level needed to perform the Seven Steps to Survival, thus extending your survival time.
First-Aid Kit- I have chosen the Adventure Medical Kits 1.0 First-Aid Kit because of size and function. This kit is loaded with plenty of supplies to handle most small injuries. (Includes Howler Whistle and Compass).
SunX No Burn Towelette - 30 SPF sunscreen towelette with (natural) cedar for insect repellent.
Aloe Vera Gel and Vitamin E.
SunX 30 SPF Lip Balm - Apply to lips to prevent chaping caused by continuous exposure to salt water and sun.
(*) Items attached to kit with 36 inch piece of nylon line to prevent loss in case of dropping.