Sailors First Aid Kit - Sail Magazine

Sailors First Aid Kit

Few sensible sailors would consider setting out without some form of first-aid kit on board. Scraped knees, cuts, bruises, and bumped toes are all part of the sailing experience—everyone suffers them at some time or other. Being able to deal with these appropriately makes them minor annoyances rather than life-threatening emergencies. Of course, don’t be slow to call for help
Author:
Publish date:
first_aid_kit
first_aid_2

Few sensible sailors would consider setting out without some form of first-aid kit on board. Scraped knees, cuts, bruises, and bumped toes are all part of the sailing experience—everyone suffers them at some time or other. Being able to deal with these appropriately makes them minor annoyances rather than life-threatening emergencies. Of course, don’t be slow to call for help if the situation demands it or the nature of the emergency is outside of your capabilities. But an on board first-aid kit should be your first line of defense.

What you need:

A. Scissors. Used mostly for cutting bandages and surgical tape to length, they can also cut clothing away from a wound if removing the garment is impossible.

B. Safety pins. Handy for holding errant bandages in place, these are also good fishing hooks—just don’t put them back into the first-aid kit afterward.

C. Syringe. Filled with saline solution, it can be used for flushing dirt from a wound. It can also be used as an emergency eye-wash pump.

D. Tweezers. These are the best tool for pulling splinters or other small foreign objects out of your body.

E. Fabric tape. This comes on a roll and can do all sorts of jobs from holding splints in place to taping pads to a wound.

F. Stretch bandages. These can be used to hold absorbent pads over wounds and to hold a temporary splint in position.

G. Triangular bandage. This will support and immobilize a damaged arm.

H. Large adhesive pad. Used with a gauze pad, this makes a huge band-aid—even if it does rip out half your body hair when you pull it off.

I. Cold pack. For temporary relief of minor burns and sprains, the pack contains two chemicals that are inert in their normal state but become an instant ice pack (without water) when squeezed and mixed.

J. Foil space blanket. Retaining 90 percent of body heat, it can treat shock by preventing body temperature from dropping to dangerously low levels.

K. Latex gloves. Sterile gloves should be worn during contact with body fluids—yours or anyone else’s. Use them once and throw them away. If you are allergic to latex, try nitrile gloves instead.

L. Absorbent pads. Individually packed in sterile packets, these cover wounds and abrasions.

M. Band-aids. We have all used them. They’re called “sticking plasters” in some parts of the world.

N. After Burn. Use this when you need to treat your sunburn with aloe or have inadvertently touched the hot plate in the galley. Treat a major burn as a medical emergency.

O. Eye patch. This is not for Long John Silver impersonations but for covering an infected eye.

P. Medications. Bring common medications individually wrapped—sting and diarrhea pain relief and aspirin, among others.

Q. Saline solution. Used for flushing wounds, this is preferable to peroxide, which destroys healthy cells at the wound site.

R. Storage bag. This keeps everything organized and easily accessible.

S. Dental kit. You won’t need this on a day trip, but it could be handy when a dentist is more than 24 hours away. Fortunately, it contains instructions.

T. First-aid guide. If you are not sure how to respond to a particular situation, this is an essential reference. You would be wise to read it before you need to use your first-aid kit.

Thanks to West Marine for help with this article.

Related

Outremer45

Boat Review: Outremer 45

It’s funny the way things that work right almost inevitably tend to look right as well. Case in point: the Outremer 45, a catamaran that can’t help but turn heads with its large rig, nicely sculpted cabintrunk and narrow, purposeful bows. Better yet, under sail the boat more than ...read more

Sunset-Tyrrel-Bay

Charter: Glorious Grenada

In the wake of the hurricanes that devastated the Virgin Islands last year many charterers ended up going farther south to Grenada and the Grenadines where they found the sailing excellent and the vibe just fine“God must have been a sailor when he created the Caribbean,” a friend ...read more

WaterLinesNov

Waterlines: Tangled Up in Pots

I learned to sail on the Maine coast as a boy, and one of the things my elders taught me was to respect fishing gear. If you got caught up with a lobster pot, you did everything you could to get clear without cutting the pot warp. It represented a family’s livelihood and thus was ...read more

7353

Harken’s Reflex 3 top-down Furler

Furl PowerAre you afraid of flying—spinnakers, that is? Harken’s new Reflex 3 top-down furler will tame A-sails on monohulls from 44-58ft and multis from 39-55ft, and Code 0’s on 39-54ft monos and 36-50ft multis. All you do is heave on the furling line and the sail will roll up ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comDitch the stress Owners of high-freeboard yachts best boarded via the stern sugar-scoop like to back them into a slip, but the process can be fraught on a windy day or when there’s a current running, ...read more

Sun-Odyssey-490-Bertrand_DUQUENNE-aft

Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490

True innovation in monohull sailboat design can be a bit elusive these days. That’s not to say that there are no more new ideas, but it does seem that many new tweaks and introductions are a bit incremental: let’s say evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Just when it seems ...read more