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AMSEA Blog

When you are the closest help, do you know what to do?

Updated: Jan 17, 2023



Fishermen are often closer to a vessel issuing a MAYDAY than the USCG, making you the quickest on the scene to give aid. A basic understanding of CPR and first aid may save a life (possibly your own.) The more people trained in first aid, the better off the marine community is as a whole. If you are in trouble, you want to have your crew and surrounding vessels know the procedures to secure the surroundings and evaluate the situation to the best of their abilities. Everyone on the boat needs to know when and how to make a MAYDAY call.


You do not have to be a doctor or an EMT to administer first aid - stop a bleed, rescue breath, or give CPR. When you are in a city or harbor, you can call 9-1-1 for an emergency and have medical professionals reach you within minutes. This is not the case for mariners. Depending on your location, the weather, and your situation, you may not be able to receive professional help for hours or days. Having the tools to recognize the severity of your condition and the confidence to think through your next steps may make the difference between making it through alive or not.


You cannot help someone if you become patient number two! It takes training and practice to remember that your first priority is to ensure your own safety by being aware of hazards. If you rush into a fish hold to check on an unconscious crewmember, you could be the second victim of hydrogen sulfide poisoning or carbon monoxide. Training will help remind you of the potential hazard to rescuers in a medical emergency.


Receiving training in mariner's first aid provides relevant information for fishermen and recreational boaters alike to deal with medical emergencies. AMSEA's Mariner's First Aid training teaches ways to splint limbs, protect puncture wounds, administer CPR, recognize hypothermia, administer Narcan, and so much more! Take a class near you, or join AMSEA's waitlist.


Check out AMSEA's First Aid Afloat page to learn more about first aid on the water, and visit AMSEA's Opioid Overdose Prevention page to get information on access to free Narcan training and kits.



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