So what’s in your first aid kit?

One of the non-negotiables on our To Do List is to build a quality first aid kit and do a first aid course that covers the potential accidents or illness that can happen on a sailing boat.


The first step in developing our first aid kit has been to ask other sailors. I have been throwing into conversations,  “so, what’s in your first aid kit”. Like most things sailing related, there is no definitive answer.  Each response was dependent on the person I am speaking too, their situation and their approach to safety.

Some of the fantastic advice I have received from other sailors has been:

  • know your own personal health status, any issues you have or may have, and if you can, get them addressed before you leave.
  • have Orbit’s immunisations up to date and plan to be somewhere that can provide the next set of immunisations.
  • be prepared for ‘typical male/typical female/typical child’ infections (e.g. ear infections, urinary tract infections) even if you don’t have them.
  • set up a ‘first aid’ cupboard, label everything in the cupboard and have an inventory on the front of the cupboard, so anyone on your boat knows what is in it.
  • attend a first aid class, marine first aid is better.
  • have a first aid book on board, don’t rely on your memory.
  • talk to your local GP and ask them for advice on what to take and what prescriptions to carry (if you can).
  • have a Yachting Australia Category 1 Racing First Aid kit, because if you need to call for help, the person advising you knows what you have on the boat.

The second step has been to undertake some internet research. There are all sorts of marine/yacht/sailing first aid kits that can be purchased and reading through the inventory it can be quite daunting to think that the Skipper or I may have to administer some of these things. Hence, the need to undertake a comprehensive first aid course.

Now I have some lists to compare, I can start to have more detailed conversations with those sailors who offered the fantastic advice above, our local GP, Orbit’s paediatrician and other medical professionals.

I dread having to do first aid, it means someone I love has been hurt or is sick. But I would rather know what to do and have the equipment than not, particularly when we could be a long way from someone coming to help us.