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Safe at Sea: It is all about 'the bags'

May 9, 2018
By DR. CARL SCHULTZ , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Over the next three articles, we will discuss "the bags" - boating bag, ditch bag and first aid kit.

With regards to all three of these "kits," accessibility is key. All three should be within easy and fast reach; all three should have fast-working zippers/closures; all three should be clearly labeled; and every passenger on the boat should know exactly where all three of the bags are located.

This week's article deals with the most critical bag of all: the first aid kit.

Article Photos

Clearly, the contents of first aid kits vary significantly. Commercially, you can purchase a first aid kit that fits in a "fanny pack" or one that is suitcase-sized. However, what is important is that the exterior of your bag needs to be clearly labeled - a red bag with the iconic white cross - so that when it is needed immediately, there is no mistake about which bag to grab.

Recommended contents for your first aid kit include:

Medications (subhead)

- Aspirin 325mg (20 count)*

- Benadryl 25mg (four)*

- Tylenol 500mg (eight)*

- Salt tablets (10)

- Advil 200mg (10)

- Antacid tabs (eight)*

- Meclizine (six)

*Check expiration dates

Dressings, bandages (subhead)

- Band-Aids (assorted)*

- Steristrips

- Moleskin (blisters)

- Telfa (non-adherent) dressing

- Gauze pads (6-by-6)

*Check expiration dates

Lotions, creams (subhead)

- Afterbite or Stingeze

- After Sting

- After burn (aloe with lidocaine)

- Calamine/caladry (lotion)

- Sunblock (SPF 50)

- Insect repellent (greater than 25 percent DEET)

- Triple antibiotic cream (individual packs)

Liquids (subhead)

- Hydropgen peroxide (2 percent)

- Isopropyl (rubbing alcohol)

- Betadine solution

Miscellaneous (subhead)

- Cold/hot compresses

- Scissors (bandage style)

- Disposable gloves

- Ace/Coban wrap

- Forceps/tweezers

- Eyewash and eye patch

- First aid manual (American Red Cross)

- Energy bars

- Salongpas

If you have no first aid kit onboard, above is an ideal listing of what to purchase. If you have a fit, double-check its contents. Make sure it is complete and expirations dates have not passed.

A complete first aid kit is essential to being safe at sea!

For more information, call 239-985-9472 or visit online at

A former emergency room physician, Dr. Carl Schultz is a member of America's Boating Club of Sanibel-Captiva.



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