Boating is good fun however, it does come with inherent risks, so it’s important to be prepared when going out on the water. While we all hope we never have to use your boating first aid kits, they can be a saviour in times of emergency. If you haven’t already got a first aid kit for your boat, this post is for you. We’ve compiled your essential first aid kit for boating to help simplify the process.
First things first, your first aid kit should be water-resistant
There’s a good chance that your first aid kit may get wet while on board, so to protect the contents inside, your first aid kit must be water-resistant. If your items inside get the tiniest bit wet, mould growth can infect the products, and they will have to be thrown out. Even if they have recently been wet, and they don’t appear dirty, they are contaminated and using them can cause infections and prevent the injury from healing quickly.
Here are some essential items that should be in every boating first aid kit
Medical-grade scissors – These are handy for cutting surgical tape, clothing to tend to a wound or cutting bandages to size.
Tweezers – These can be used to remove items that are embedded in the skin, such as ticks, fishing hooks and splinters.
Adhesive pads in various sizes – These are used to cover wounds and cuts and to stop bleeding.
Saline solution – This can be used to flush debris from the skin as well as the eyes before applying an appropriate bandage or patch.
Instant cold packs – These can relieve pain from strains and sprains and provide relief from sunburn and burns.
Instant heat packs – These can help with muscle spasms and can be used to warm up when the weather is exceptionally cold.
Elastic bandages – Elastic bandages can cover injuries as well as offer support to the injury site.
Thermal blanket – This can reduce shock by preventing heat loss from the body.
Medical tape – is used to fasten bandages and gauze into position.
Bandages – It’s a good idea to have a variety of these including triangular bandages and roller bandages.
Sterile absorbent pads and gauze – These can be used to soak up blood while covering a cut, abrasion or wound.
Hand sanitiser – This is a must-have anytime and even more so on a boat. It enables you to sanitise the hands quickly before administering first aid.
Disposable gloves – This can prevent cross-contamination and reduce infection.
Alcohol wipes – These can be used to sterile items in your first aid kit and the hands if necessary.
Safety pins – Safety pins can help to keep slings and bandages in position.
Band-Aids – Your boating first aid kit should have a selection of band-aids ranging in size and purposes.
Anti-septic spray, cream or lotion – These are needed to cleanse and disinfect a wound or cut before applying a dressing or band-aid.
First aid guide – This can help you with instructions in case you forget or are unsure how to use a product.
Other items that you should include in your boating first aid kit
While these items aren’t considered essential, they can make your day more enjoyable and safe while out on the water:
Plenty of fresh drinking water
If your boat happens to break down, you’ll want to have plenty of fresh drinking on board. If you don’t have the room, you should take some water purification tablets. These can make otherwise unsafe drinking water safe to consume.
It’s not only the sun bearing down that you have to worry about but the glare that bounces back up from the water and into your face. Polarised sunglasses are best as they offer the best protection for your eyes and reduce the most glare.
Nothing beats a day out in the sunshine on the water but amid summer, it can become relentless and cause serious sunburns. This is not only painful, but it can cause skin cancer. Ensure you apply your sunscreen a minimum of 15 minutes before going in the sun, and ensure you have a high SPF sunscreen on board your boat so you can reapply it as much as you need. Water-resistant sunscreen is best.
If you are a seasoned boater, you may not need these, but it doesn’t hurt to carry some onboard. You never know if you may need it or if someone you take out needs it. Sometimes seasickness can strike when you least expect it, and you want to be prepared if it does.
A torch isn’t something you’ll need during the day, however, once night falls, it can be pitch black out on the water. You’ll want to be able to see what you are doing while on board, and if you get stuck at night, you can use it to gain the attention of potential boats passing by. Ensure that it is water-resistant so that if it does get wet, it won’t break. Have some spare batteries on board to replace them if need be. This way you won’t be without a light when you need it the most. You shouldn’t solely depend on a flashlight if you plan on taking your boat out at night. Ensure you have the right lights fitted to your boat.
Other things to check before hitting the water
You should have a VHF radio, lifejackets and flares on your boat, and these along with your first aid kit should be checked before departing for the day.
There are several premade marine first aid kits you can buy
Rather than gathering all the supplies yourself, you can purchase premade marine first aid kits that have everything you’ll need. Which is best suited to you will depend on how many people will on your boat at any one given time.
As well as having the right first aid supplies for your boat, it’s important that you know how to use them. It’s smart to enrol in a first aid course if you haven’t already or update your skills if they are due.