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boating accidents
January 25, 2016

Boaters, when is the last time you checked your first aid kit? If you can't recall, then it's time to make sure that your first aid kit is waterproof and fully stocked with fresh supplies. You want to be prepared to deal with common medical issues ranging from sunburn and insect bites, headaches and nausea, and cuts and fishhook injuries. Feeling ill or getting hurt on the water is bad enough. Not having anything on hand to treat the problem can turn a manageable issue into a more serious situation.

Boating First Aid KitWhether you buy a prepackaged kit or build your own, here are some useful marine first aid kit pointers:

  • Keep everything in a waterproof case so your supplies won't get ruined.
  • Buy a First Aid Handbook and write down emergency contact numbers on the inside cover.
  • Keep an assortment of general purpose over-the-counter medications: Ibuprofen (Advil), Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Aspirin, Antihistamine Tablets (Benadryl), Glucose Tablets, and remedies to prevent or treat motion sickness, indigestion, diarrhea, or heartburn.
  • Have the basics for treating minor injuries: tweezers, scissors, butterfly closures, sterile gauze pads/wound dressings, first aid tape, antiseptic towelettes, antibiotic ointment, adhesive bandages, rolled bandages and clips, prepackaged eye wash solution and eye drops, cotton swabs, and chemical ice packs.
  • Make sure to have needle-nose pliers and side-cutters for cutting and extracting fish-hooks.
  • Buy special prepackaged kits for controlling bleeding, closing wounds and treating burns.
  • Don't forget anti-itch lotion for insect bites, sunburn, and other minor skin irritations.
  • Complete your kit with bottled water, hand sanitizer, barrier gloves, wet wipes and clean towels.
  • Remember to check your kit each year at the start of boating season to restock supplies and replace medications that are past their expiration date.

In addition to putting your marine first aid kit together, consider taking first-aid and CPR training courses to better prepare yourself to handle emergency situations. The attorneys at Heintz & Becker urge all boaters to be responsible and be prepared. We hope you find this information helpful and keep coming back for more boating safety tips.

Source(s):, "Small Boat Marine First Aid Kits", posted November 17, 2009; U.S. Coast Guard, "Marine First Aid Kits", posted November 18, 2011


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