First Aid Kit contents list


Simon Connor
Hi all,

I was wondering if anyone has a recommended list of items that should go into a first aid kit ?

Cheers all and keep safe and well,



Member III
We have had good luck with Lisa's primary who ran through a complete list of items we would need as well as prescriptions for the non-OTC items. This was all done with a tele-health appointment and worth every penny. I'll see if Lisa has completed her updated list yet.


Curator of Broken Parts
Blogs Author
There are a few professional recommendations available:

I like the small book by Eric Weiss that comes with a certain brand of grotesquely over-priced first aid kits but is also available separately. Oddly enough, the kits do not contain the items recommended by Dr. Weiss. IIRC, the book has almost a flow-chart approach to dealing with emergencies. May require reading glasses for the fine print.

At the other end of the spectrum are the comprehensive WHO Medical Guide for Ships and UK Ships Captains Medical Guide, both of which are free on-line but may be overkill for a small pleasure boat. But maybe not. Oh, it looks like the newest version of SCMG is no longer free, but PDFs of the previous edition can still be found.

The price of the "marine first aid kits" that one can buy far exceeds the cost of their contents, purchased separately. (Still bitter about buying one...) But you can download the contents list, for some of them. e.g. Although shopping for all of that stuff could take a significant amount of time and effort, which the kit saves you. And the one that I bought did not actually contain all the things that it claimed to.

A few random things I noted when I stocked up - and/or discovered when I had to use it:

Things like gauze bandages and tape can be bulky and kits are likely to contain only one (1) of each. However, if you need to treat a significant wound for several days, you will need several. They aren't expensive, but do take up a lot of space.

Wound closure strips work great, compared with trying to stitch yourself - but you will need the tincture of benzoin needed to make them stick. (Not included in kit.) And probably more than one packet because once opened, they are no longer sterile. (Same caveat for everything else wound-related - individually-wrapped better than bulk-pack.)

Almost a joke: the "six person kit" contained one (1) dose of seasickness medication. I imagine sick people fighting over who gets the one dose...

Speaking of medications, they were all packaged in little foil packets with text printed in tiny pastel print. Practically unreadable to (ahem) "mature eyes." And no explicit labeling as to what each item does or what condition it is for. When I've purchased new stuff, I've added large print labels with the name, usage, and dose.

Most medical thermometers that one can buy only cover a tiny range - like 96 - 103 degrees. But mariners might need one that covers a lower range - for hypothermia. Takes some searching to find one.

Christian Williams

E381 - Los Angeles
Blogs Author
Consult the Ship Captain's Medical Guide for questions about crew insanity, pregnancy, head trauma from falling cargo, and of course, and you won't fond this in most $10 medical kits, burial at sea. (Be sure to make a vent in the shroud so the deceased doesn't bob around on the surface, and to mark the GPS position in the log because the family is bound to ask the current location of their kin).

I used some of this in the novel "Rarotonga" and it brought many a smile to the research.



Member III

Adventure Medical prioritizes their kits based on how many crew and how long from rescue. While having a kit is a good thing, it would probably be wise to get some training on how to use it. The ol' ABC's are a good place, as are courses from The American Red Cross.


Member III
I have the West Marine kit, which has some forty well chosen items in it, plus clear, simple instructions. I think I only used it once, for a burn. I recommend it. I also have ibuprofen and an assortment of bandaids.