Marine First Aid Kit Checklist

Marine First Aid Kit

Going out on a boat can be such great fun however a marine first aid kit is essential.

If you get injured on a boat you may not be near help. You need to be able to treat yourself and your shipmates for any emergency that might arise.

This checklist is pretty extensive. Start gathering the items you will need and don't forget to restock after you've used an item.

Marine First Aid Kit Contents

  • A really good comprehensive first aid guide - One that is easy to understand. Sometimes it's hard to remember what to do in an emergency. A good first aid manual comes in handy, taking you step-by-step through first aid care. We think it is best to read through it, become familiar with the layout, before you need it.

Over the counter items:

  • Non-prescription drugs such as pain reliever, anti-diarrhoea medication, antacid, laxative - depending on the length of your trip.
  • Antibiotic Ointment or powder.
  • Antihistamine tablets or liquid - helps to control mild allergic reactions.
  • Antiseptic solution or Betadine individually wrapped swabs - Swabs are great space savers.
  • Antiseptic wipes or gel (the no need for water type)- for cleaning your hands before touching open wounds.
  • Antiseptic swabs - for wiping over bites and stings.
  • Burn cream or gel - Aloe Vera aids in healing, pain relief, has anti-inflammatory properties, help prevent blistering and scarring.
  • Hydro-cortisone cream - reduces skin inflammation and itching caused by dermatitis. Some "sailors" find they get dermatitis on their hands and feet when they otherwise would not on land. This is triggered by having a lot of skin contact with salt water.
  • Sea sickness tablets - more effective if taken before the "storm" so to speak.
  • Cold sore cream - if you are prone to cold sores sunlight and sunburn can trigger them so take some cold sore cream. Zorvirax is our preference.
  • Stings and Bites Cream - I prefer one with a local anaesthetic especially for the kids. My son scratches his bites when he is asleep and ends up with bleeding and weeping sores so knocking out the itchiness of bites before he goes to sleep reduces the scratching.

Other contents to add to a good Marine First Aid Kit are:-

  • Band Aids - a variety of shapes and sizes for small cuts and scrapes. We find the long strips of fabric tape with the padding already in place is great because you can cut it to any length then seal it down with adhesive tape if needed.
  • Thermometer.
  • Triangular Bandage - For slings, padding, strapping limbs to splints when fractures are suspected.
  • Steri-strips (Butter-fly sutures, Adhesive Sutures, Adhesive Closures) - used to pull a small gaping cut together. I have also used adhesive tape for the same purpose as it is clean when it comes off the roll.
  • Tweezers - A good pair of tweezers has easy-to-grip handles and can be used for splinter removal and other first aid procedures.
  • Vinyl based (non-allergic) gloves
  • Elastic (compression) and crepe bandages - a few different widths.
  • Gauze squares - for either applying cream, gels or antiseptic or for putting pressure on and absorbing blood from bleeding wounds. We prefer not to use cotton balls as the fibres can get left behind in the wound and may cause trouble later but if that is all you have go ahead and use them as they are better then nothing.
  • Gauze and non-adhesive dressing pads - preferably sterile. They come in all sizes. One option, if you are trying to save space, is to get a bigger size dressing that you can cut to size as needed. It will save space.
  • Normal saline - stock small vials and use them to wash over wound and cuts or even use them as a single vial eye wash.
  • Adhesive Tape - I prefer paper tape as you do not have to have scissors to cut it as it will tear by just using your fingers - Get a good quality tape that will not get brittle with age or lose it's stickiness. It is useless when that occurs.
  • CPR Mask - learn how to perform CPR before you go on your adventure.
  • Aluminium/Foam Splints - for possible fractured leg.
  • Finger splints - Two tongue depressors or ice block sticks are an excellent size for the job.
  • Instant Cold Pack/s - These are so useful with bruising, swelling and sprains. They are single use, so if you have space grab a couple for your kit.
  • Eye Wash - stock the single use vials or even use normal saline vials as you can use these to wash over wounds and cuts as well.
  • Petroleum jelly tube/pot - helps prevent wind burn, moisturises chapped lips, locks in moisture with older burns to aid in healing process. DO NOT use on fresh burns as it will hold in the heat.
  • Safety Pins - We use tape to do most of the jobs that safety pins do - although tape fails if your pants zipper breaks, tape just does not hold it together. Safety pins win here. So it is a good idea to pack a few.
  • Curved Scissors - Scissors come in handy in many ways. Curved medical ones are great as they don't have sharp points. In an emergency you might need to cut clothes away from an injury. With sharp edges it is easy to poke through something and cause further injury when you are in a hurry or under stress.
  • Insect repellent,
  • Sunscreen - prevention of sunburn and long term skin damage.
  • Waterproof or Duck Tape - many uses not just for first aid.
  • Mobile phone - charged. You will also need to check whether mobile service will be available in the area you are going to be in.
  • Marine band radio.
  • Emergency flares.
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses - These are not first aid equipment, but if you need them, an extra pair is very useful to put in the marine first aid kit in case your first pair go into the drink.

You will be set for almost any boating injury with this Marine First Aid Kit Checklist.

Other things to consider when putting together a marine first aid kit:

Remember to pack in your bags any prescription medication you and/or your family are taking. Whether it be for asthma, allergies or some other aliment because a pharmacy may be quite a distance away.

When an accident or injury occurs you may not have much time to read a manual while trying to give first aid to an injured person. We at recommend you do a First Aid Training Course to learn what first aid challenges you may encounter and how to treat them.

The course you choose should include performing CPR, how to stop bleeding, First Aid for Cuts and Scrapes, how to stabilise a fractured limb, and how to treat burns, snake bites, spider bites and insect bites as well as other injuries.

Having a comprehensive marine first aid kit when you are out on the high seas will make the adventure just a little bit safer.

Now you have read about what to put in a good marine first aid kit you may be interested in the following:

Photo by Jim Munnelly

›› ›› Marine First Aid Kit Checklist