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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 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; but 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.

First Aid Kit
The First Aid Kit

A responsible vessel operator also keeps a first-aid kit on board. It should be waterproof and include:

  • Assorted gauze adhesive bandages and pads
  • Cotton and cotton swabs
  • Scissors
  • Antiseptic medications and lotions
  • Aspirin or aspirin substitute
  • Latex gloves
  • An extra towel
A responsible vessel operator takes a certified course in first aid and CPR. Doing so enables you to respond quickly in emergency situations and to provide immediate care until the victim can be treated by a physician. When out boating, it can take a long time to get medical help.