Injuries – First Aid

During sailing trips, it's essential to be prepared for potential medical issues without causing unnecessary panic among fellow sailors.

It's crucial to inform everyone that medical situations may arise, and a responsible approach is necessary.

Additionally, remember to use VHF (PANPAN) for assistance and issue a MAYDAY if human life is at risk.

Common Medical Issues on a sailboat

Bruises (Contusions)

Clean the affected area with mild soap and water.
Apply a cold compress to reduce swelling.
Rest and elevate the injured limb if possible.

Sprains and Strains

R.I.C.E. method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation).
Use a compression bandage and apply ice wrapped in a cloth.


Immobilize the affected limb with a splint or bandage.
Seek professional medical help as soon as possible.

Bleeding (Limbs, Tongue, Teeth, Nose - Arterial)

Apply direct pressure using a sterile dressing or cloth.
Elevate the bleeding limb if safe to do so.

It is crucial to prevent bleeding, especially when dealing with injuries to an artery.

Loss of Consciousness


Check for signs of shock (pale skin, rapid pulse) and keep the person calm.
Seek medical assistance immediately (MAYDAY).

CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) on a Boat

Ensure the safety of yourself and others.
Check for responsiveness by tapping and shouting.

Use the VHF radio to request assistance (PANPAN) or issue a MAYDAY if necessary + Assign someone to stay on the radio for further instructions.

If the person is not breathing, begin CPR immediately.


  1. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest.
    Use the weight of your upper body to compress at least 2 inches deep.
    Perform chest compressions at a rate of 100-120 compressions per minute.
  2. After 30 compressions, give two rescue breaths.
    Ensure a good seal over the person's mouth and nose.
  3. Repeat the cycle of 30 compressions and 2 rescue breaths until help arrives or the person starts breathing.

Remember to stay focused, perform CPR with precision, and seek professional medical help as soon as possible.
Time is of the essence in a cardiac emergency.


Cool the burn with cold water for at least 10 minutes.
Cover with a sterile, non-stick bandage.

Insect Bites

Remove the stinger if present using tweezers.
Apply antihistamine cream and take an oral antihistamine if needed.


Administer prescribed epinephrine if anaphylaxis occurs.
Seek emergency medical attention.

Food Poisoning

Stay hydrated and avoid further consumption of contaminated food.
Seek medical help if symptoms persist.
Remember to stay calm and assess the situation before taking any action.

Medical Readiness Preparations

When making a PAN PAN MEDICO call, it's crucial to be prepared to provide essential information about the patient to the medical professionals.

Anticipate the following questions and be ready to respond:

1. Vital Signs

Report the patient's pulse rate, its quality, and any irregularities.

Specify the respiratory rate and whether the patient is breathing normally.

2. Temperature

If applicable, provide the patient's temperature, whether they have a fever, and any efforts made to control it.

3. Medical History

Share any known medical conditions or allergies, including medications the patient is currently taking.