Proper response to accidents results from good training and common sense. If an injury is minor, treat it immediately. If an injury is major, make the victim as comfortable and safe as possible until medical personnel arrive, assuming you have a way to call for help. Here are some proper responses to accidents that can occur while boating.
- Shock: The seriously injured should be treated for shock by keeping the victim warm, still, and in a lying-down position until medical attention arrives. Elevate the feet several inches except in cases of head, neck, or back injury or hypothermia.
- Bleeding: Bleeding usually can be controlled by applying direct pressure to the wound. If the bleeding is minor, apply first aid. If it is serious, apply a dressing, maintain direct pressure, and seek medical attention.
- Burns: In cases of burns, the immediate goals are to relieve pain, prevent infection, and treat for shock. Immediately place minor burns in cold water and apply a dry bandage after the pain subsides. Seek medical attention for more severe burns.
- Broken Bones: Seek medical assistance immediately for broken and dislocated bones. Apply temporary splints with care. An improper splint can result in lifelong disfigurement; lack of a splint can lead to hemorrhage, shock, or death.
- Head, Neck, or Spinal Injury: In cases of head, neck, or spinal injuries, never move a victim more than is absolutely necessary. The water can provide excellent support until medical personnel arrive. If a victim must be moved, place him or her gently on a firm, full-length support.