Medical Emergencies

Medical Emergencies

First Aid Kits & Manual

There are two comprehensive 1st Aid kits on board, each has a list of contents. These are stored in the after shower-room locker.

Everything you need to know is in the First Aid manual kept with the 1st Aid kits. Refer to the tabs on the right hand side of the manual for specific treatment information for the patient’s condition.

If you are in phone range, call 000 or coastguard for assistance.

If you are offshore use 2182 on the HF radio and request medical assistance.
In an emergency, use HF radio for a pan-pan or even a mayday distress call.

Below are a number of medical emergencies and their treatments

If you have internet access, you can watch the video on each condition, or you can find treatment in the 1st Aid Manual on the page indicated.

Shock - See page 66 of your 1st Aid Manual.

Shock is the body’s response to injury or stress. It must be dealt with quickly and monitored.
Symptoms can include
Anxiety or agitation/restlessness.
Bluish lips and fingernails.
Chest pain.
Dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness.
Pale, cool, clammy skin.
Low or no urine output.
Profuse sweating, moist skin.

Toxic Substances & Poisoning - See page 65 of your 1st Aid Manual

Poison can be ingested, inhaled, absorbed or injected (eg by sea-snakes).It causes injury, illness and can lead to death if not treated properly and quickly. 
Symptoms can include
Burns or redness around the mouth and lips.
Breath that smells like chemicals, such as petrol or paint thinner.
Difficulty breathing.
Confusion or other altered mental status.

Severe bleeding - See page 22 of your 1st Aid Manual

The amount of bleeding depends on whether an artery, vein or capillary has been severed.
Excessive bleeding can lead to shock or death if not dealt with quickly. While external bleeding can be detected at the scene of the accident (remember to do a blood sweep), internal bleeding can be just as dangerous but needs close attention to detect.
Symptoms of Internal bleeding can include
pain at the injured site.
swollen, tight abdomen.
nausea and vomiting.
pale, clammy, sweaty skin.
extreme thirst.

Burns & scalds - See page 28 of your 1st Aid Manual

Burns occur when dry heat is applied to the skin, scalds are from moist heat, such as boiling water.
If caused by electricity ensure the electricity supply is isolated before attending to casualty.
Always cool burns aggressively with clean cold water unless there is a good reason not to.
Burn sites must be kept clean to avoid infection.

Electrocution - For CPR, see page 11 of your 1st Aid Manual.
There is a laminated CPR Resuscitation card with the 1st Aid kits on board.

Ensure the electricity supply is isolated before attending to casualty.
Electrocution can lead to death from the heart stopping. Once safe, check for response and breathing. If none, begin CPR immediately.


Time is crucial. If no response and not breathing, start CPR immediately.
This video filmed on the beach at Bondi shows Surf Lifesavers resuscitating a drowned swimmer. Even professionals find treating a drowned casualty very frightening. Try to stay calm and remember what you have been taught.

Head injuries See page 56 of your 1st Aid Manual.

Head injuries can have immediate symptoms, but these can take some time to show as pressure builds from internal bleeding
A person who has sustained a head injury may also have injured their spine
Symptoms can include
clear fluid leaking from the nose or ears
altered consciousness or a period of unconsciousness
skull deformities
vision changes
bruised eyes and ears
nausea and vomiting.

Fractures See page 50 of your 1st Aid Manual.

Fractures can be "closed" or "compound" (where the bone protrudes)
Symptoms can include
intense pain in the injured area that gets worse when you move it.
numbness in the injured area.
bluish color, swelling, or visible deformity in the injured area.
bone protruding through the skin.
heavy bleeding at the injury site.

Dislocations See page 50 of your 1st Aid Manual.

Not all dislocations can be 'reduced' on board. Sometimes you will need to stabilise and await help
Symptoms can include
pain at or near the site of the injury.
difficult or impossible to move normally.
loss of power.
deformity or abnormal mobility.
discolouration and bruising.

Eye injuries See page 48 of your 1st Aid Manual.

Irrigation is a common treatment for chemical splashes in the eye. Never remove an impaled object from the eye
Symptoms can include
Wound or bloodshot appearance
Loss of vision
Blood or clear liquid leaking
Screwed up eyelid and watering

Training Manual Pages

Abandon ship to Liferaft

Man Overboard (Engine)

Man Overboard (Sail)

Medical Emergencies

Safe use of Ropes