Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Illness and injury is not the sort of thing you want to consider when planning an exciting cruising adventure, but health events and accidents do happen, so (as always) it’s best to be prepared. Often you’re too far away from a doctor to get immediate help or the language barrier prevents you from getting the actual medication you need. So, how do you prepare for illness or injury, and what should you include in your marine first aid kit?

Marine First Aid Training

Firstly, undertake marine first aid training. The marine environment, and distance away from medical help, requires a specialised approach to training compared to general first aid training. Therefore, it’s well worth the investment.

First Aid kits also require different contents to home first aid kits.

Marine First Aid Kit – Suggested Contents

Here are some suggestions for what to include in your marine first aid kit. However always check with your doctor as to your specific medical conditions and needs, as this list is not a substitution for medical advice. Some of the medications listed are available over the counter and some may require a script from you doctor.

  • Personal medications
  • Defibrillator (a reasonable investment but worth considering)
  • Large first aid kit (this will contain a range of bandages, tapes and First Aid book)
  • Sunscreen
  • Flexible splint
  • Paracetamol or similar
  • Stronger pain killer
  • Cold and Flu tablets
  • Seasickness tablets
  • Anti-emetic (in case seasickness and vomiting becomes unmanageable)
  • EpiPen – for any serious allergies (note: these may have a short shelf life)
  • Dentafix Filling Repair
  • Dentafix Tooth Ache Gel
  • Antihistamine
  • Oral antibiotics
  • Antibiotic Eyedrops
  • Antibiotic Ear Drops
  • Disinfectant cream
  • Eye wash
  • Ear cleaning liquid

Crew – Medical Considerations

The crew’s welfare, is the boat’s skippers responsibility. So, in the case of any medical mishap;

  1. Make sure you’re aware of any medical issues of crew
  2. Know what medicines your crew requires
  3. Be aware of any serious allergies

Serious Medical Emergencies

For serious medical emergencies, that can’t be managed onboard or wait until the next port, make a radio call with Urgency Message follows:

‘PAN PAN’ Repeated 3 times
or Called Station Repeated 3 times
‘THIS IS’ The MMSI, call sign or other
identification of own ship
The text of the urgency

Australian Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (GMDSS) Handbook 2018

If there’s anything I’ve overlooked or other items you think should be included in the marine first aid kit, drop me a line and let me know and I’ll include it.

2 Replies to “Marine First Aid Kit and Preparation”

  1. Hi Suellen, thanks for the article. Very topical.
    It would depend on your route but we also took anti-malarial meds with us. Two different types. One for cover that we started to take before arrival in a malaria zone and the other in case we got it anyway as treatment. If I recall correctly we also had a really strong pain med that might have been sealed. We had prescriptions (kept all them al) for some over the counter meds prescriptions because in some countries some of our OTC Ames’s are banned. We also had a set of blow up splints for different body parts but they were thankfully never used.
    It is also a good idea to have extra thermal blankets and burn cream. If not supplied in the first aid box then some steristrips are a good idea. Finally if In the tropics some broad spectrum anti-fungal, antiseptic and anti sting cream is a good idea.
    Thanks for the article:) and regards to SJ

Leave a Reply