Are There First Aid Kits Designed For Mariners?

The question of first aid kits designed for mariners should not be confused with safety kits or survival kits. First aid kits are certainly one component of safety and survival kits.

For this discussion we’re focused just on first aid kits. More specifically, first aid kits for cruisers. And, to focus even closer, cruisers that will be within about 50 miles of shore.

First aid kit

First aid kit

Competency of the Crew

First-aid kits with all sorts of cool stuff aren’t much good to anyone if no one onboard knows what to do with it. Mai Tai’s first mate has many years of nursing experience. Gauging the competency of your crew is a good starting point.

At the very least every cruiser should have basic CPR and first-aid training. Red Cross, US Coast Guard and many other accredited organizations offer these courses.

All mariners cruising off-shore should probably take the basic CPR and/or first-aid course. There are numerous sources, both in person and online. A first-aid guide that is a must have in your kit can be downloaded HERE. Take a read through it to get an idea of the contents. Review the relevant sections that may apply to your circumstances.

Minimum First-Aid Kit Components

A kit equipped to handle small cuts and minor incidents and be stocked with medicines such as Almagate, Dimenhydrinate and Paracetamol. Typical medical supplies should include antiseptics such as alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, Povidone-Iodine, Chlorhexidine, antibacterial hand gel and saline solution; creams with cortisol and antibiotics; and supplies for skin repair, such as sterile gauze pads, adhesive plastic dressings, adhesive sutures, gloves, scissors and forceps.

If crew competency levels are higher then it would be advisable to carry a more complete kit. One designed for emergencies. Medicines included should treat emergency-shock and anaphylaxis; problems with the digestive system, sickness and allergies; analgesics and anti-inflammatories; anxiety and neuroleptics; and problems with the eyes. Emergency supplies will include resuscitation equipment; bands, dressings and bandages; orthopaedics; needles and syringes; digital-measuring devices and emergency blankets.

As you can see, there is a lot to consider when choosing a first-aid kit.

Where To Start

There are hundreds if not thousands of first-aid kit options. Here is an example of a first aid kit designed for the marine environment. The case is water tight. The contents are geared to address common problems cruisers experience. Is there more that could be included? Absolutely! But it’s a beginning.

Another option is to build your own kit. There are places where you can mix and match all kinds of products, like this one. Finding a case to organize and keep the products is a bit harder. Deciding on the size, material and utility (water proof) will depend largely on how much stuff you want to put in it. So figure that out first.

In our next post relating to first-aid we’ll explore the world of safety kits and survival kits. There will be some overlap with first-aid kits so you might want to wait until our next issue.