As much as we try to be careful, accidents can happen while we’re boating—usually miles away from professional medical care. That’s why it’s important to have a well-equipped first aid kit on board, and that you know how to use it.
The first aid kits that you buy for your home or to keep in the car tend to have minor injuries in mind—a handful of adhesive bandages, some antibiotic cream, and a few packets of aspirin.
Your boat’s first aid kit ought to be stocked with items appropriate for more serious medical situations. Things like:
- waterproof adhesive bandages
- butterfly bandages to close open wounds
- gauze sponges
- medical adhesive tape
- bandages to wrap sprained ankles and wrists
- pieces of splint material to stabilize suspected broken bones
- motion-sickness bags
- and cold medications, just to name a few.
Any first aid kit you buy or put together yourself should have an easy-to-understand first aid instruction book included. Read the first aid book to become familiar with the procedures, so you’re ready should the need arise.
We highly recommend enrolling in a Red Cross First Aid and CPR class, so you’ll be prepared to treat an injured crewmember—and possibly save a life, if the unthinkable happens on your watch.