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First Aid Kits and Training
First Aid Kits and Training
By admin
January 17, 2019

At least once per year,  you should take the time to ensure that your first aid kit is up to date and more importantly, relevant to your type of operation.

Ensure that you have the correct Scale Kit and that the items in there are up to date.

The owner/master of a domestic commercial vessel operating in operational area C,  C Restricted, D or E may undertake a risk assessment of their vessel and operation, and determine the appropriate type and quantity of First Aid supplies that are to be carried on board the vessel for that operation.

The kit must as a minimum comply with WHS Code of Practice, and if necessary, assistance may be sought from an appropriately experienced pharmaceutical provider or First Aid provider/supplier in order to do so.
(See AMSA GES 2015/01 for full details)

The first step is to gather all of the vessels medical equipment, first-aid kits and if you require, oxygen and AED, or automated external defibrillator. This also includes any small kits on a tender or auxiliary vessel. Check if you have a kit in the galley and in the engine room.

Try and gather as many crew members as possible for this exercise, especially those that are new to the vessel as this is a very good learning experience.

After everything is on the table, check all kits for missing or expired items, opened packages or things that look out of place. If you are not sure what something is, ask.

Basic equipment
Take a look at your kit, ensure it is the correct type and then look at the items including; medical exam gloves, eye protection such as safety goggles, and a CPR mask. Almost everything has a shelf life now including bandages and gloves, so when in doubt, throw them out.
Does the CPR mask look cracked, dirty, discoloured or melted? If so, replace it. For those who wear prescription lenses, make certain the safety glasses fit over the prescription lenses.

Next, look at each medication. Is it current? Is it organised? What is it used for? If anything is expired, order replacements and dispose of the old medication properly. Check the manual if unsure what the medication is prescribed for.

This is where having an organised medical kit and quality CPR AED First Aid training comes into play. It is very important that you understand what medications you have, how to use them, where they are located and when they expire. If I told you that a crew member was bleeding heavily from a shark bite, how long would it take you to retrieve glasses, gloves and your trauma bag with bleeding-control supplies?

Having at least one automated external defibrillator (AED) on board should be considered. Without an AED, the chances of surviving sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital are small – less than 5 percent. However, if the AED is applied quickly, the victim’s odds increase to about 70-90 percent.   Most manufacturers recommend a monthly inspection. If this has not been happening, create a log book or use an AED inspection tag to track inspections.

AEDs have two major parts that must be replaced periodically; the electrode pads and the battery. Most electrode pads have a two-year life and the expiration dates should be clearly marked.  The battery, once installed in the unit, has a life span of 2-5 years. Write the installation date on the battery or on a sticker on the back of the AED as a reminder. Don’t wait until the AED is beeping. This is the low-battery warning. Be proactive and order a new battery before this happens.

Verify that you have a spare set of electrode pads, as well as paediatric electrodes if you have children on board.

How old is your AED?  Look at the back, often there is a manufacture date.  If your AED is more than 10 years old, you should consider replacing it.

Around 8 years ago I was completing a periodic survey on a Cray Fishing Boat in Victoria. As this was a day boat operating in C Waters, I asked the crew in the mess “Why do you have a defibrillator on board?” The Master told me to take a look around, as all of the crew were mostly on the wrong side of 70 they all had a laugh and we carried on with the survey!

AED recalls
Several companies have issued recalls on their AEDs. A major player in the marine AED business was one of those issuing a recall. Your AED may have been affected and may require service.  If you are unsure, check with the manufacturer or email me the make, model and serial number, and I will check for you.

Medical oxygen
Look at your medical oxygen. Is the tank full? When was the last time the oxygen tank itself was inspected?  Oxygen tanks generally require hydro testing every five years and should only be filled with “medical” oxygen, which is highly filtered. Turn it on to make sure the regulator and tank function properly.

What about the oxygen masks, nasal cannulas, and tubing? Do you have both adult and paediatric masks? Are these in good condition? If they look old, warn or yellow, it’s time to replace them.

Practice and learn all about your oxygen equipment when you have time, not during an emergency. Ask one of the crew to apply the mask to another crew and see if they know how to properly work the equipment.

Please note: If you are using the oxygen for training purposes be certain to have it refilled immediately.

Training for any and all emergencies is crucial.  The Master / Owner should complete a First Aid Drill at appropriate intervals and chat about locations that might present challenges when administering first aid. For example, someone is knocked unconscious in the bilge. How and where should we treat them? A crew member goes into cardiac arrest in the crew quarters. Is there enough room to perform CPR or do we need to move them?

If you have an AED to inspect it and show the crew what to look for. If a medical kit is available, also review what is in the kit and explain how things work.

Be proactive. Asking questions is a good thing, and being prepared for emergencies is the key to saving lives.

For a tailored first aid training solution on your vessel or in the classroom, you need look no further than the team at Professional Diving Services.  visit or email

Seasickness cure?
Not sure if this works, but worth a try for those of you who suffer from seasickness.

The first glasses against motion sickness!

Specially designed by studio 5•5, Seetroën glasses use Boarding Ring technology: a patented and clinically tested medical device.

How does it work?

– Put them on as soon as the first symptoms occur (it can be worn over prescription glasses)

– Wear the glasses for 10 to 12 minutes so that your senses can re-synchronise

– Take the glasses off and enjoy your journey

The consumption of anti-motion sickness drugs (or any other psychoactive substance) in parallel with the wearing of SEETROËN glasses systematically affects their effect. The glasses can re-synchronize the vision with the perceptions of the inner ear, the operation of which is disrupted by the action of these drugs.

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