The always items:
Whistle on short lanyard.
Chapstick (also good for lubing zippers)
Small tube w. folding money
Spare car key clipped to inner pocket
Knife lashed on
If going on the Great Lakes:
a VHF handheld in a mesh sleeve which hooks inside my PFD next to my chest (I made this).
1 credit card
silver space blanket (also good for signalling)
would add flares for certain trips
a waterproof camera (goes in its own pocket)
I like the saying "if it ain't on ya it ain't with ya"