Here is how you should choose a first aid kit for your boat!
Boating is a popular recreational activity for many, however, it does come with its risks, and if someone is injured on board, access to medical assistance is often delayed. This is why you should always carry a well-equipped First Aid Kit when out on the water. What do you need exactly? Here we will run through all the must-haves for your boat.
Determining what kind of First Aid Kit is best suited to your boat depends on what type you have and what it is primarily used for. Here are some factors to take into consideration when deciding on a suitable First Aid Kit.
- The conditions that your boat usually experiences. For instance, do you mostly travel on smooth, calm waters or offshore?
- How many people use your boat at any one given time.
- The type of boat it is and whether it is a private vessel or used for commercial purposes.
Why do you need a First Aid Kit on your boat?
Having a First Aid Kit on your boat enables you to treat injuries and minor medical conditions while the patient is waiting to seek proper medical care. Doing this can promote better outcomes for the patient and minimises the risk of infection. Often, boats aren’t near shore when injuries or medical episodes occur, so knowing First Aid skills and having adequate equipment can potentially save a life in more serious circumstances.
Here are some of the basics that a marine appropriate First Aid Kit should have:
- Water-resistant storage unit.
- Glow sticks.
- First Aid Booklet.
- Antiseptic cream, wipes or liquid.
- A selection of adhesive bandages.
- Medical tape.
- Medical grade scissors and tweezers.
- Butterfly clips.
- Instant cold packs.
- CPR mask.
- Dressings in multiple sizes, shapes etc.
- Bandages in a variety of sizes both stretch and non-stretch.
- Eye pad.
- Disposable poncho.
- Resealable plastic bags both big and small.
- Hand sanitiser.
- Alcohol wipes.
- Thermal blanket.
- Paper towel.
What to look for when choosing your First Aid Kit items:
- Your Marine First Aid Kit should meet the minimum requirements outlined by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
- The products inside the kit should be organised and easily accessible.
- Items should be of high-quality and the kit should be water-resistant.
When it comes to Marine First Aid Kits, there are two main types that you can purchase:
F Scale Marine First Aid Kit
F Scale Marine First Aid Kits are suitable for vessels that operate in all water conditions and up to 6 hours away from the nearest assistance. This kit is ideal for small groups of less than ten people. This kit must be checked and recorded every three months in accordance with AMSA regulations. If you have more than ten people or travel further than 6 hours away, you should consider a more diverse kit.
G Scale Marine First Aid Kit
G Scale Marine First Aid Kits are appropriate for vessels that operate in a range of waters and travel up to 2 hours away from medical assistance. Like an F Scale kit, a G Scale kit is also suitable for smaller groups and needs to be checked and recorded every three months. If you travel more than 2 hours from help or have more than 10 passengers onboard, it is strongly recommended to consider a more comprehensive kit to suit.
Each kit enables the responder to administer First Aid to minor injuries until you are able to get the person to help.
Some other things to consider:
- Take a First Aid training course if you haven’t already. Throughout this course, you will learn the necessary skills needed to help someone that requires medical attention or even to treat yourself if you sustain a minor injury while onboard.
- If you have staff on board, do they know how to do First Aid? If not, you should enrol them in a course to update their skills.
- If someone has a potentially life-threatening injury or illness or you are not sure how serious it may be, radio for medical help.
- Consider a defibrillator if you are taking people other than yourself out often.
- Do you have a way to contact help if you need to? Such as a VHF radio or satellite phone?
What is better? Making up a Marine First Aid Kit yourself or purchasing one that is pre-made?
Purchasing the products individually for your First Aid Kit can be time-consuming and can end up costing you more than buying the kit that is already pre-made. It’s a good idea to purchase a Marine First Aid Kit as you know it will have everything in it that you need, then you can purchase any extras that you’d like to have on your boat such as a defibrillator, oxygen unit, stretcher etc.
While a First Aid Kit is an essential item on a boat, you need to know how to use the contents to be able to help properly. First Aid Training saves lives, and here at Paradise First Aid on the Gold Coast, we teach people life-long and potentially life-saving skills needed to administer First Aid whether you are on a boat or land. We offer a variety of courses suited to a plethora of settings. Check out our website for more information or get in touch with our friendly team on 07) 5572 5299.