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VOL. 13 NO. 5
Take a class

Make your own first-aid kit

Tips for building your own first-aid kit

Spring commissioning

Injuries on the water come in many forms and degrees of severity—from an embedded fishhook to gaping cuts and broken bones. Since medical attention is seldom close by, make sure you have a marine first-aid kit that is well stocked, up-to-date and at the ready. The first step when a life-threatening injury occurs is to make a Mayday call on channel 16 to report an emergency, and then call 911 if cellphone reception is available.

First-aid kit basics

  • Begin with a plastic air-tight storage container to keep contents dry.
  • Label the lid “First-Aid Kit.”
  • Be prepared; take a first-aid and CPR course, and remember to
    • restore breathing,
      stop severe bleeding, and
      treat shock.

Basic supplies

  • Scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Stomach remedies to prevent or treat motion sickness (meclizine such as Antivert or Bonine), indigestion, diarrhea and heartburn
  • Antihistamine for allergic reactions
  • Anti-itch lotion or cream for treating insect bites, sunburn and other minor skin irritations
  • Butterfly bandages and narrow adhesive strips for gaping cuts
  • Adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
  • Individually wrapped 2-inch and 4-inch sterile gauze pads to control bleeding
  • Hypoallergenic adhesive tape to hold a dressing or splint in place
  • Roll of absorbent cotton as padding for a splint or to control bleeding
  • Sterile roller bandages, at least three rolls in 2- and 3-inch widths to support strained muscles
  • Eye drops (artificial tears)
  • Antiseptic ointment, spray or wipes for cleansing wounds
  • Antibiotic ointment (neomycin, bacitracin) to prevent infection of minor wounds
  • Pain or fever reducers: high dose aspirin (to chew in case of suspected heart attack), acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen
  • Clean towels (small and large) to control bleeding or as a wrap for ice
  • Chemical ice packs if you don’t carry ice on board
  • First-aid handbook

Always carry at least twice the number of bottles of water as there are passengers on board (short trip lasting a few hours). Use sunscreen and reapply each hour.

This article first appeared in South Wind, newsletter of Sarasota Power & Sail Squadron/22.

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