Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing
, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

First of all, there’s a big difference between your First Aid kit and your Bleeding Control kit on board, and both are needed. Your “boo boo kit” might have bandages, ointment, aspirin – the basics. Nothing to keep you alive. I’m much more concerned with what you are carrying that is designed to save someone’s life.

With only three to four minutes to prevent bleeding out; you need dependable, readily accessible supplies, and you need training to know how to use them rapidly.

Second, the kit needs to be readily identifiable as the “important” one. Mine happens to be red so that it is easily identifiable.

Third, this bag does not have to be huge. It has one purpose and one purpose only; to stop someone from bleeding to death. You don’t want a lot of additional first aid gear in this container getting in your way, slowing you down, or confusing you. Like a garage, the larger it is, the more likely you are to fill it with unnecessary items.

This 5×8 Vanquest FatPack is the perfect size!

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing
, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

Fourth; the essentials that you need are very few. Gloves that fit you, something to cut away clothing, quality tourniquets, and wound packing material. Those items alone might be enough to save someone with a cut or puncture in an accessible area of the body. For punctures that cannot be stopped with a tourniquet; chest seals are a good inclusion. My kit has two additional supplies; a thermal survival blanket for shock and a cravat for fashioning a sling or improvised tourniquet. My kit also includes a permanent marker for writing the time a tourniquet was applied. Or, you can write that in blood on their forehead; the first place a medic will look for shock and communication.

Gloves

Your gloves in your kit need to fit you, and they need to be replaced every three years. Three years is the lifespan/shelf life for natural rubber or latex gloves. Synthetic gloves such as nitrile, neoprene, and vinyl can last five years. All gloves can be used up to and after ten years if they are not damaged and they are stored properly.

However, to limit exposure to disease-causing agents, I would recommend demoting your bleeding kit gloves to other boat tasks because you know they are not “stored properly.” On a boat, your gloves are exposed to extreme heat, and if they are staged in the most ready-to-go state, they are no longer in their sealed packaging and may have deteriorated. Blood is slippery; the less packaging you have to open in an emergency, the better. Just think about how long it takes to open everyday packaging.

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing
, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

The materials in medical gloves naturally deteriorate over time. Exposure to heat, chemicals, UV, and even ozone can shorten their life. Ideally, you should store them in a cool, dark, dry place to ensure their shelf life, but that is not always possible on a boat subject to extreme elements.

And yes, gloves come in different sizes. Mid-emergency is not the time to discover that yours are too small to don.

Watch the size – Rescue Essentials Rolled Blue Nitrile Gloves in Large work for me.

Cutting Tool

While on a boat bouncing up and down on waves is not the time to attempt to remove clothing to access a wound by using a pointed knife, or pointed scissors.

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing
, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

There are two good options; EMT scissors or a swiping cutting device. If you suffer from arthritis and scissors cutting through thick clothing sounds potentially difficult; the swiping device might suit you better. Test them out on old jeans so you know what to expect.

Mine is the Gerber Gear Strap Cutter. I also have the North American Rescue Trauma Shear in my land-based bleeding control kit.

Tourniquets

A counterfeit tourniquet can become a venous constricting band; restricting flow back to the heart while allowing flow away from the heart. This will cause your patient to bleed out faster. Put only quality tourniquets in your kit. Even my friends at Fort Benning have received shipments of counterfeit tourniquets! Go directly to a reputable manufacturer like North American Rescue, not an online volume retailer.

Practice on yourself and on others with your tourniquet. Learn how to “stage” it, how to tighten the big bulk of extra length, how to operate the windlass, how to get the windlass into the cradle, and how to secure the sticky tape security strip. Never loosen it – leave that to a doctor. If it does not stop the bleeding, add another.

Get training from someone reputable like our favorite, Crisis Medicine. The first time you see this used should not be in the three or four minutes you are trying to save a loved one’s life.

Combat Application Tourniquet (C-A-T) from North American Rescue.

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing
, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

Wound Packing

This is material to stuff and cram in the hole so the bleeding stops. The wound probably is not sterile, and your plan is to get your patient to a hospital within four hours. Material specifically designed for packing wounds will be easier to handle, sterile, and in manageable widths and lengths.

What to leave out – that fast clotting powder. It’s not proven to be efficacious, and you’ll have to wash it all out of a helicopter is making the rescue. They won’t pick up your victim due to concern about having the powder blasting around their cockpit and interfering with their vision.

I pack North American Rescue Compact Z-Fold Wound Packing Gauze.

Elastic Bandages

These are SO useful!

Elastic Bandage Wrap, Compression Wrap

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing
, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

Chest Seals

For punctures on the torso where tourniquets will not work, this is a solution. They are specifically designed to seal upon inhale and flap on exhale. You can fashion your own, but again, with slippery blood and so many other variables and factors; why not have the exact right tool for the purpose. Make sure to read the instructions, get training, and understand how to use these.

North American Rescue Hyfin Vent Chest Seal 2 Count is what’s in my bag.

Survival Blanket

These are incredibly lightweight, can easily be tied to secure, and they work. While you might think you can just use your sail cover or some other item on your boat – if your victim is airlifted, you probably won’t get it back. Plus, these blankets are very inexpensive, and don’t add weight or bulk to the victim that might need to be lifted and maneuvered.

This is the North American Rescue Survival Blanket, 84″ x 52″.

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing
, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

Triangular Bandage / Cravat

Possibly the least important item in my bleeding control kit, but, it takes up so little space that I keep it. These can be used to fashion an additional improvised tourniquet – which has good results, better than a counterfeit because you are concentrating on the steps to make it work and secure it – or a sling.

NAR Triangular Bandage With 2 Pins, OD Green is a very useful inclusion in your kit.

Not in the Kit, But on the Boat

Blue-water sailors have referred to this book since 1972. Everything from prescription drugs, unique needs of children, and even amputations are included.

Long-distance boaters traveling weeks away from help will want to read this in advance.

Advanced First Aid Afloat by Peter F. Eastman in paperback.

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing
, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

Not Just for Sailing

This kit, once you get it set up, is extremely portable. Take it everywhere with you. If you are operating a chainsaw; have it within arm’s length so you can save yourself in case of an accident. When hunting, target practicing, operating a weed eater or mower – remember that incident a couple of years ago when the man was mowing and saw his wife hit the ground 30 feet away from him due to a flying piece of glass? Yeah. Anytime there is the slightest possibility of you getting hurt; have it nearby. Yes, yes, in your car too.

Training

I know that my simple First Aid certification is not sufficient to treat a deadly wound. So, I obtained professional training online from Crisis Medicine. They say the first time you see blood shouldn’t have to be on a loved on in a crisis; so get training in advance. I have completed their Tactical Casualty Care and Air Travel Emergencies classes, as well as the Essential Casualty Care. I highly recommend them for convenient, comprehensive training.

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing
, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

What Else I Carry Daily On Board

When I arrive at a boat to take people sailing, I see them eyeing my big red backpack. I know they wonder what all I have in there, but are too polite to ask. Sometimes sailing school students do ask! What exactly does a professional captain carry with her on the boat each day? I took everything out of my bag, and here’s what I found!

Here’s what I carry on the boat for day sailing and short voyages, power or sail. The Prudent Mariner: EDC What’s in My Day Sailing Bag.

I’ve Got It In The Bag!

I carry an Osprey backpack in red so I can find it fast when everything falls on the cabin sole during fast and furious sailing.

, Save a Life // Stop the Bleed // Beyond Basic First Aid Kit for Sailing

I Don’t Go Anywhere Without:

  • Stream2Sea Reef Safe SPF 20 or 30 mineral, regular or tinted sunscreen, mask defog, shampoo, conditioner, rash guards and more reef-safe supplies. Use my code “DeepWH” for 10% off.
  • Crisis Medicine Tactical Casualty Care Course knowledge so we can help ourselves. With code “DeepWH” you save 20% on the TC2 course
  • MyMedic Individual Bleeding Control Kits, this link and my code “DeepWH15” will save you 15% on your purchase. We take ours everywhere.
  • North American Rescue CAT tourniquets.
  • Airbnb, “Kimberly gave you up to $55 off your first trip.”
  • Airbnb says, “Deep gave you up to $415 off your first adventure.
  • Uber gives you $2 off your first three rides.
  • Travelex is our trip insurer – click for a free quote.
  • Girls That Scuba – members discount card for all things diving.
  • REI Co-op for great sports equipment and travel clothes.
  • Sailo for $100 off your next boat rental! Discount Code: “KimWa1”
  • PierShare to rent your dock out or rent a dock.
  • BoatUS for your boat towing insurance! Code: “HEWAF88”
  • RoadId for $5 off your cycling/running/kayaking/travel/sailing id. Racers are now wearing them!
  • Thank you for using my links – your price does not change, but they may gift me a small percentage of your sale in return for my mention, which allows me to continue to bring to you fun content.
  • AD: affiliate links used.
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