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Neil Deemers, technical superintendent of The Pacific Sharav, regularly spends 28 days on the oil rig anchored in 12,000-feet-deep water off the Gulf Coast. These are his essentials.

1. Toothbrush and Toothpaste

Skipping one night’s dental scrub is bad. Multiply that 28 times.

2. A Good Paperback

On the 90-minute helicopter ride out to the rig, Deemers catches up on his reading. Currently: Steven Callahan’s memoir Adrift, about surviving 76 days alone at sea in a life raft.

3. Pocket Flashlight

Deemers carries flashlights with waterproof plastic casings, never metal; no one wants sparks from a dropped metal flashlight reaching all that oil.

4. USB Stick

For on-rig entertainment, Deemers never forgets a USB drive loaded with his favorite movies and TV shows.

5. Protective Footwear

Sturdy, steel-toed boots ensure his feet are comfortable, but also safe from any heavy falling objects.

This article was originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of Popular Science.

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