I'm in the process of Outfitting my I37 and I'd Like Some Old Salt'S Advice.
I need to buy a Good Quality 1st Aid Kit and add to it. My location is S. FL and Caribbean (sailing area). Most of the sailing will be single added. I assume, that buying the largest 1st Aid Kit would be right (best) choice. I have not looked to see if they are different for marine usage.
My No# 1 Question is: What do you carry and why ? I'm addressing a number of things, have read the Single Handed Sailing Article.
a. Boat Sinking and being in a storm is not required to sink. The I 37 that I just bought was close to sinking when a thru hull fitting let go (former owner story). The pump had a hard time keeping up to the flow and they barely made it to port (prior to sinking) in time.
So, what Emergency equipment needs __ ,___,_____ to be readily available, to grap it, get in the dinghy, or life vest and survive until you're picked (S. FL, warm water) ?!?
Yes, I see the survival kits with the emer. transmitters, food & water, flares, etc. . I'm asking about other great items to have ... that You Recommend. These items are over & above the emer. kits, something you think is important, grap it when you leave your boat. Also, this may be in the middle of the night, really scary and a different world to survive in.
I have read about sailing single handed and failing over board. I read that it's very difficult to get back on board if this occurs while under sail. I read about wearing a tethered harness, having a swim ladder that will deploy at the tug of the rope (smart idea).
Good Over the Counter Med.'s on Board ?
Sickness/ Injury: Falls (broken bones, sprains), Bad Cuts, Burns, Heat Stoke, Food Poisioning, Long (week or so) Term Effects of -- Bad Case of Flu, Pneumonia or like sickness that lends you to being bed fast (very weak) & your by yourself. I assume, once you realize your in a bad situation... You'd put out a distress call to the USCG. I hope your radios are good and not out of range, that would be a bad situation, so SOS is next.
The Best tlll Last.. the Bad Guy's Out There (Pirates).
I know of the Pirate danger, was in the military. I worked with different law enforement agency's in S. FL and other locations. I will ask what is permitted to be carried on board in a off topic question per the law. I talking about being away from the coast (Grand Turks & Caicos Islands) line and furher down the Caribbean chain. I'm aware of the drug traffic there, bad things can happen out there, particulary at night. Just asking for your knowledge or someones personal experience(s) i.e. what happened to ____ (?) . I think we all get more out of, " this happened to me story's ! " I remember all the times I was in a bad situation (Wx, combat, maint. problems, green horn mistakes) and lived to tell about it & passed these event's on to others.
I'm asking for this information to add to my preperation/ readiness knowledge base; including others that may read this thread. Having a well (emer. gear) prepared boat (knowing what to do).. may/ will be difference in being a -- Survivor or Not !
Wow! THat is a lot to cover in one post!!!!
For the first aid kit, we ended up buying a premade kit. I liked it because it went along with the medical handbook. THere are two we carry: The Comprehensive Guide to Marine Medicine and Advanced First Aid Afloat. They are both super good books. I like the Advanced First Aid Afloat better (has a better kids section) and seems easier to read. However, the first book matches up well with the medicine kits. Inside the Comprehensive Guide you will find a list of RX and OTC scripts. I cannot remember all of the meds, but most should not be an issue to get scripts for. The only two that are narcotics are Vicodin (usually Lortab) and Lomotil. We have used both and I would carry them if you are venturing where you are talking about. We also carry an array of anibiotics, including Cephelexin (Keflex which is good for UTI), Azythromycin (great general anibiotic), amoxicillin, and others. We also carry scopolamine patches and phenegren for nausea/ sea sickness. They both work for us, though they do not for some people. Try them before setting out. In addition, we carry an Epi Pen and an EPi Pen jr which are DANG expensive and we have never used - thank goodness. When ordering the Epi Pen, try to get one with the expiration date as far out as possible.
What is not well mentioned or stocked in the kits are a wide array of bandages, alcohol, and Hydrogen Peroxide. We go through a lot of these. On the bandaids, get both the tough strips and the water proof in a variety of sizes. I would suggest a lot of both because we seem to always be cutting ourselves on something. Hydrogen Peroxide works really well when you step on a sea creature (of choice) where we run a lot of it over the wound. It is also good to run through drains and clean cutting boards and things like that. Also, get your hands on some surgical grade tweezers and the little plier things that lock together. We have used those a LOT and are great for splinters (which we get all the time too). The splinters from the docks love to get infected, so plan on digging them out. We also carry several needles which also seem to be neglected. The alcohol is not just used for an antiseptic, but is also great for using on tools after getting them wet (to get water off). Lastly, see if you can get the butterfly strips that only seem to be available at medical supply stores. THese are totally sterile and are great for pulling together deep cuts and slices. Some people swear by super glue too to seal them up.
You can build your own kit. Its not that big of a deal. However, I really like the way they are compartmentalized and color coded. We carry a LOT of stuff and often when hurt, you are not thinking straight. SO having everything in easy to grab bags that are well laid out and easioy referenced is worth the money. Not to say you could not do that yourself (I would too), but there is something to be said about the prebuilts.
About the guns, we don't carry them. Instead I have a lot of the 12 ga and 25 mm flares and guns sitting beside the bed. That would sure put a hurt on someone. Weapons can be a real issue if you take them into a country without declaring them. I have also been told the declaration process can be a real PITA too. So, research where you plan to go and what the rules are. I had a doctor that has travelled all over the carrib and mexico with a shotgun and has never declared it. I also heard another cruiser tell me abouta sailor that had his gun discovered in Mexico and spent a long time in a Mexican Prison. Make your own decision about what you feel is most appropriate. They all carry risks.
We carry a wide variety of stuff in our ditch bag. I would suggest at least a EPIRB, some water, fishing gear, food (Ramen is great, cheap, small and lasts a long time), sea sick pills, and a handheld VHF.
Your VHF, in general, is only good up to 24ish miles offshore. I have had mine reach further than that (like sailing across Florida Bay) and less than that (heading to the Tortugas). Outside of that you have to make the decision of Sat Phone or or SSB. There seems to be a lot more waivering amongst cruisers now of which is best. One is free (more or less) after install (SSB). It is great to keep up with other cruisers on and you can send limited emails, get weather fax, and theoretically will work anywhere. THe Sat phone is basically a phone that can work anywhere and you can take and get calls at any time. Many will get on the internet with it and get weather with it. I also have a cruiser that told me he uses his SIRIUS weather satellite all through the Bahamas and down as far as Luperon. Each of these has a positive and negative. Several years ago, most people were still very pro-SSB. I am one of them. However, I now have many cruisers we have met that have given up on SSB and now only use a SAT phone. That is another choice you will have to make after you weigh the pros and cons of each.
As far as your experience, I would focus my attention on South Florida and the Bahamas for now. That could keep you busy for a lifetime - but more importantly, will allow you to build your skills in SOMEWHAT more protected environment. When you are up to your first challenge, head to the Tortugas or the Bahamas (I would do the Tortugas first).
I will be in the Tortugas the first week of December, weather permitting. I will then be in the keys shortly thereafter, probably Boot Key or Marathon Marina. From there, we sail to the Bahamas. The boat is Sea Mist IV. Feel free to stop by and say hi.