Prep a first aid kit for boat adventures

Are you ready to kick off recreational boating season? Unless you're in a year-round warm climate, the early spring is the time when most boaters will de-winterize their vessels, stock up on necessary supplies and make sure everything is in tip-top shape for the coming season. Of course, one of the most important additions to your vessel is a marine first aid kit, and in some states if you hit the water without one, expect to pay a heavy fine!

If you have a flexible spending account (FSA), your benefit will cover a huge range of qualifying medical supplies that can help you respond quickly in an emergency, even if you're miles away from the nearest hospital. Most first aid kits are comprehensive, but here are a few items that should be included with your nautical medical supplies.

1. Waterproof Casing

Before making a purchase of a full first aid kit or putting together one of your own, make sure to invest in a watertight case to carry around all of your boating medical supplies in. Nylon cases with durable, waterproof linings on the inside are typically the best options to safeguard these materials in an environment that is typically more humid and less sanitary than normal.

2. Waterproof Bandages

The nature of a marine environment can wreak havoc on most standard bandages and dressings, so make sure you stock plenty of waterproof bandages as possible. Bringing along this type of bandage can prevent liquid contamination of wounds and help them stay affixed to the skin for as long as possible before seeking medical attention.

3. OTC medications

Fill up a watertight baggy with a series of over-the-counter (OTC) medications you may need during your boating excursions this summer. A few ideas include pain relievers (aspirin, ibuprofen), anti-diarrheals, antihistamines (for allergies or motion sickness), antacids and anything else you may need.

4. Tweezers/Curved Scissors

Both tweezers and curved scissors are extremely vital additions to your first aid kit that can perform myriad uses in an emergency situation. Tweezers can be used to remove splinters and other first aid tasks, while curved scissors feature stubby points that will not poke the skin when trying to remove clothing or bandages.

5. Elastic Bandage

Last but not least, an elastic bandage is a welcome addition to your marine first aid kit that can serve a variety of uses. These bandages can be fashioned into a sling for a broken arm, wrapped around an ankle to immobilize a sprain and can even affix materials to an appendage to act as a splint for a broken bone. Search for a bandage with a clip as opposed to adhesives as this will have a longer shelf life in a humid marine environment.

If you have any questions about your boating season preparations, you can also take advantage of a free Vessel Safety Check (VSC) through the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and many community lake/river/ocean marine patrol officers throughout the U.S. will provide this same service. This can help you avoid safety fines when out on the water, and give you peace of mind that your equipment is as safe as possible.

For everything else you'll need this boating season, shop at! We have the web's largest selection of FSA eligible products to keep you and your family healthy no matter where you're headed this summer.

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