Make a First-Aid Kit

Make your own first-aid kit

Since medical attention is seldom close by when on the water, you should have a marine first-aid kit that is well stocked, up-to-date and at the ready. Stock it with the supplies needed to treat most ailments; injuries on the water come in many forms and degrees of severity, from an embedded fishhook to gaping cuts and broken bones.

Make a First-Aid Kit
You Need a First Aid Kit

If a life-threatening injury occurs, you should first make a mayday call on channel 16 to report the emergency and then call 9-1-1 if cellphone reception is available.

Before assembling your first-aid kit

Start by finding or purchasing a plastic air-tight storage container to keep your first-aid supplies dry. Label the lid “first-aid kit.” If you don’t want to make your first aid kit, there are many options available, at reasonable cost, to purchase a first aid kit.

Next, be prepared. Take a first-aid and CPR course, and remember to the three basics of first aid: restore breathing, stop severe bleeding, and treat shock.

Basic first-aid kit supplies



Stomach remedies to prevent or treat motion sickness (medicine such as Antivert or Bonine), indigestion, diarrhea and heartburn

Antihistamine for allergic reactions

Anti-itch lotion or soothing cream for treating insect bites, sunburn, and other minor skin irritations

Butterfly bandages and narrow adhesive strips to close 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

Emergency ‘space blanket’ and emergency poncho

First-aid handbook

A Few More Things to Think About

Always carry at least three the number of bottles of water as there are passengers on board on short trips lasting a few hours. Use sunscreen and reapply as directed. Dress for the weather, hot or cold. And remember, items in the first aid kit are damaged with extreme heat or cold; make the first aid kit part of your ‘go bag’.

The original article first appeared in South Wind, newsletter of Sarasota Power & Sail Squadron/22, authored by Sylvia Wedge.

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