Sailing on a lake or on the ocean itself can provide many challenges! But even if you’re experienced on the water, you have to be aware of the potential for accidents. If someone is injured on your boat, you need to have a sailing first aid kit ready to go to take care of them – especially if the accident occurs far from shore.
Not sure where to start? Let’s break down how to put together a sailing first aid kit from scratch.
Essential Items in Any Sailing First Aid Kit
A comprehensive sailing first aid kit should have the following essential items:
- Safety pins, which you can use to hold bandages in place
- Scissors to cut surgical tape, bandages, clothing, and anything else
- At least one syringe without a needle. You can fill this with saline to get dirt out of a wound or to wash someone’s eyes
- Tweezers for removing small items or foreign bodies stuck in the skin
- Fabric tape to hold bandages and dressings in place
- Elastic and triangular bandages, which can be used to cover and support injuries around the body or to support a damaged arm or shoulder, respectively
- Big adhesive pads
- A foil space blanket to help injured people retain body heat
- Sterile absorbent pads to cover wounds and cuts
- Disposable gloves, which are necessary for any injury treatment
- Saline solution for the above syringes and for sterilizing injured areas
- Rolled gauze to cover major wounds and injuries if an adhesive bandage won’t work
- Adhesive bandages, such as Band-Aids or larger bandages depending on what you can find
- Alcohol wipes for sterilizing injuries
- Common medications like ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen, etc. Note that these medications should be individually wrapped
- Burn cream, which can be used to treat galley burns or sunburns
- Cotton swabs to clean any delicate areas before applying a bandage or dressing
- Antiseptic spray and/or ointment to apply to minor scrapes and abrasions and reduce the risk of infection
- Eye wash, which you can use to flush chemicals or dirt out of the eye or to alleviate the symptoms of pollen allergies
How to Store Your Sailing First Aid Kit
Having the right stuff in your sailing first aid kit is essential. But it’s also crucial that you are able to retrieve your first aid kit, particularly when disaster strikes. With that in mind, you should store your sailing first aid kit:
- In a dry place far from the water. Otherwise, choppy winds and waves stand a chance of soaking and ruining your first aid kit and the valuable items inside
- In a place where you can retrieve it easily, or where someone else on your boat can retrieve it if you are injured. Don’t keep your first aid kit in a safe that only you know the combination to, for instance.
Ideally, you should place your sailing first aid kit on the wall in the galley or in another public area where everyone can find it. If you don’t want to wall-mount your sailing first aid kit, put it instead beneath a seat or in another dry place where it’s unlikely to get ruined or damaged from people bumping into it.
Wherever you place your sailing first aid kit, remember to tell everyone on board where it is so everyone can find it if needed.
As you can see, a great sailing first aid kit should have many essential items, plus be stored properly so you can retrieve it quickly when needed. Follow the tips above, put together your kit, and you’ll be good to go. Or consider purchasing a ready-to-use first aid kit online!