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What first aid kit on the boat?


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I recently had to use the first aid kit I keep on the boat for an non-boat related incident (a large, deep cut near the injured person's wrist) that required an ER visit and stitches.  I have this one, if you're interested LINE2design Complete Survival Kit It had what we needed to get things stabilized and the person to the ER, but got me thinking about whether there's additional stuff I should be carrying.   

What kit do you carry on the boat and/or what else should I be carrying? 

I'm not a doctor, but was a Scout and have taken a few first aid classes over the years. I'm just looking to have the stuff needed to, with a doctor on the phone, stabilize the injured until the pros can take over. 

 

Edited by GForce
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Perhaps a rescue breathing mask so the victim doesn't puke all over you in the event that they should actually come to while you are helping them breathe.  Unless you are trained to shove that breathing tube in your kit down somebody's throat, consider letting that one pass (somebody certified may chime in here).  The concept of treating a drowning on a boat should be pretty high on the list.

Very large zip ties and several four-foot long splints to stabilize a broken/dislocated whatever after a nasty fall.  The splints could be just a 2x4 ripped into 1/2" wide strips.  Strong enough to splint with, but weak enough that you could break them if you need them shorter.

Duct tape!

Your local Scouts BSA council probably offers a Wilderness First Aid class every year since it is a requirement for leaders going to any high-adventure activity.  They may take outsiders, or you may want to join a troop and give back to the movement.  The Red Cross also offers classes.

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4 minutes ago, justgary said:

Very large zip ties and several four-foot long splints to stabilize a broken/dislocated whatever after a nasty fall. 

Cardboard splits are way easier to handle.  Red Cross sells them. Also, zip tipes are too narrow and would cut into the skin.  Better to use cloth and/or that duck/duct tape.

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7 minutes ago, Eagleboy99 said:

zip tipes are too narrow

The 1/2" wide ones don't really do that, and nothing stops you from buffering them first with that cloth, or preferably additional splints.  Cardboard and water don't do well over time, so perhaps wood or plastic is better on a boat.

Add a hank of paracord to the bag as well.  I'm always amazed what needs to be tied up/down at any given time.  I try to keep an eight foot piece in my pocket, but I tend to use it or give it away or lose it, and it takes a while to remember to replace it.

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2 hours ago, GForce said:

I'm not a doctor, but was a Scout and have taken a few first aid classes over the years.

And by the way, thanks for staying prepared to help other people at all times. 

Young scouts seem to always think that they are learning their skills just to make rank or to show us that they paid attention for five minutes.  I generally remind them before they turn 18 that I know my skills, and that they learned their skills for them, not for me.  Like most other skills, first aid is perishable and should be practiced from time to time.  Everybody should be willing to spend a few hours in a first aid class every few years. 

The reality is that your skills probably won't work on you if you are down, so you will need someone else to help you.  The odds are also pretty high that you will use your first aid skills on a friend or loved one, so your preparedness might really matter to you.

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I have a bee sting kit because you never know who may or may not be allergic. The assorted aspirin and allergy pills to extend the day if needed. Common band aid sizes for the minor cuts from toe stubbing incidents which seem fairly common. We carry empty zip lock bags for food storage which double as ice packs. Because I have access to it, I carry a good deal of gauze packing and other military grade bandages and dressings for the more serious issues like traumatic amputations from a prop or a ski rope. Fortunately my crew is heavy with former military medics, PA's, nurses and an MD so we could at least get someone stabilized. The sad truth is that every year it is getting more dangerous to be out on the water even with the license requirement that we have here in TN. I expect this boating season to be the worst in a while due to the crazy boat sales occurring every where. I pack for as @justgary states the other guy. Which I hope I am not part of that equation.

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36 minutes ago, justgary said:

The reality is that your skills probably won't work on you if you are down, so you will need someone else to help you.

This is why us backcountry skiers make sure the wife has training and the best, easiest to use avalanche beacon around.  :)

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Thanks guys, this is all really great.  I'd not thought about stabilizing a break, but that's a good one.  

Funny thing about being a Scout is that back then, I was just after the badges, just as justgary says.  But really, a lot of it stuck with me.  While I may not remember what I learned back then well enough to use it, I remember enough to know what to go look up when I want to re-learn something.  First aid, however, is something I have taken every few years and fortunately haven't had to use much.  

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I keep local anesthetic and suture kits in the boat. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to suture up people. Mostly those were when I was camp doctor for church houseboat camps. We had up to 300 very active high school kids at a time.

I used to teach First Aid and Emergency Preparedness merit badges.

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I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere so I’ll add in a Tourniquet and preferably 2. Cat6/7, Rats, Swat-T. Choose one figure out how to use it and have 2 onboard. 
Also if you own a boat and don’t have CPR certification, it’s worth considering. Simple things can save a life or at least give someone a better shot at surviving. 

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1 hour ago, Dsalyers said:

so I’ll add in a Tourniquet and preferably 2

I'd be very cautious in use of a tourniquet since it can do more harm than good.  We stopped using them in the ski patrol ages ago, even for  massive bleeds. They can almost always be controlled via wound pressure and elevation.  Full Amputation might be the only situation to stray from the guidance - and I've only ever seen one of those. And besides - if you had to use a tourniquet, ski rope and ski handle would work fine.

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Depending on where you're boating this has different levels of relevance, but in addition to the first aid kit, it's useful to have reliable communications. Many areas have perfectly acceptable cell phone coverage, but if you're in an area without coverage then it's time to look in to something else. If the person consuming the items in your first aid kit needs more than you can provide, then the time you're getting to a place to unload them could also be time that first responders are getting there too. Taking 20-30 minutes to get to a marina and then having to wait 20-30 minutes for an ambulance isn't efficient. There are some good options available between two way radios (GMRS w/repeater access, HAM, etc.) and satellite beacons, that plus the cell phone then there aren't many places a boat can go without some type of communication method.

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21 hours ago, Eagleboy99 said:

I'd be very cautious in use of a tourniquet since it can do more harm than good.  We stopped using them in the ski patrol ages ago, even for  massive bleeds. They can almost always be controlled via wound pressure and elevation.  Full Amputation might be the only situation to stray from the guidance - and I've only ever seen one of those. And besides - if you had to use a tourniquet, ski rope and ski handle would work fine.

Have you ever had to stop a severed Femoral artery? In a moving vehicle it’s not easy.   Not fun or simple to do, and yes direct pressure is always preferred, but how are you going to hold pressure and drive the boat to shore if it’s just you and the victim, or the only other person is a small child.  
Trust me they save lives and you never know when you may need one. And I prefer to have the correct tool for the job than have to improvise. 

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I thought the backboard option in the Centurion Carbon Pro was a great idea.  Neck injuries are a distinct possibility in the sports we engage in (to all on this thread).

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@Eagleboy99 - skiing, yes.  Has happened twice for our group although both were in the course so certainly skiing on the limit.  As for the more casual sports, would agree less likely.  And jumping absolutely and should add barefooting as a possibility.

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I was going to say, an out the front skiing could easily result in a neck injury. Luckily, knock on wood, we have not had anything serious from an out the front other than a bloody lip or nose. 

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38 minutes ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I was going to say, an out the front skiing could easily result in a neck injury. Luckily, knock on wood, we have not had anything serious from an out the front other than a bloody lip or nose. 

Me?  Three broken ribs, large gash from a fin, separated shoulder... I love slalom.  :)  But hey - no neck injury.

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59 minutes ago, ahopkinsVTX said:

I was going to say, an out the front skiing could easily result in a neck injury. Luckily, knock on wood, we have not had anything serious from an out the front other than a bloody lip or nose. 

I went OTF via a 3/4 backflip one year (think being in the air and the tip of the ski being the first thing to hit the water after I bounced, then my face hit the ski/water) . Over turned around one, bounced on my back before the first wake, and then caught it in the eye. stitches inside and outside of my eyelid. that was awesome...

Back on topic, great additions... we keep a small kit, but Ill be adding some ace bandages, splints, and CPR mask. All cheap stuff that we will hopefully never use. Great thoughts on training others, and being aware of your surroundings and who you are boating with. Stuff happens fast, and things never go as planned when there is an emergency, even if it is a small one.

 

 

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I purchased a mymedic kit. They have several different kits, some with waterproof cases. They are expensive but top quality gear. 

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