It shouldn't take a tragedy like the South Korean floods to convince you to be prepared for your own water-based crisis. These seven tools will keep you safe when the waters rise.[top art via Shutterstock]
Though it goes without saying, if you're on the water (during a flood or not) you should be wearing a life jacket. And if you're wearing a life jacket, you should be wearing the Mustang MV5600 SAR Vest. It's designed to withstand rugged service, strength-tested to 100mph+ (meaning the jacket components can withstand high speed impacts—you're still boned) and provides solid impact protection by minimizing neck mobility with its sturdy, high collar. The cutaway armholes allow for maximum mobility (since you'll be paddling a lot) and the large front cargo pockets have enough storage for your essentials. $520
Coordinating in a survival situation is a lot easier if everyone's on the same page. The Garmin Rino 120 helps team leaders not only keep in constant contact with the rest of the group (up to five miles away) but actually see where they are by using the integrated GPS transceivers. $270
Forget sitting on your roof for days on end. If things get really hairy, just bust out the Zodiac Canister Coastal. It's got space for eight passengers and includes all the essentials—an anchor, paddles, rescue quoit, floating knife, flashlight, bailer, pump, sponges, log book, flares and repair kit. Deployment is idiot proof, as the Zodiac is designed to open rightside up every time.
Given the amount of hazards both in the water itself as well as hidden under the surface, you'll want something more than flip-flops and board shorts if you have to step into the flood. The Cabela's Spring Run neoprene Chest Waders combine 1,000-gram Thinsulate and felt lined pockets to keep your warm and dry no matter how cold the water is. The knees and shins are reinforced with Armor-Flex fabric to help defend against submerged hazards while the felt outsoles provide traction. $180
Sure, you could carry your 128-piece, 7-pound Swiss Army Knife in a flood emergency. Or you could forgo the use of its nail file, toothpick and magnifying glass for a KA-BAR BK7 Utility knife that can actually cut something more substantial than twine—like piratous, maritime hobos. Even with its 7" blade, the BK7 weighs less than a pound. $115
The perfect solution for holes in the boat and noisy raft-mates alike, 3M Performance Plus Duct Tape is highly resistant to sunlight, UV, and water. It holds firm for up to a year regardless of the environment. $9
You have any idea the sorts of crazy shit released into the air during a flood? Viruses, mold spores, smoke, and evaporated oil products all float freely above the toxic soup. The MSA Advantage 3000 Full Facepiece Respirator is light (about 40% less than other full face respirators) and features a wraparound silicone faceplate and scratch-resistant, distortion-eliminating polycarbonate lens. It's also designed to reduce breathing resistance while (depending on which filter you use) eliminating everything from simple nuisance odors to non-IDLH toxics. $163