How to Build a Diving First Aid Kit

by Dillon Waters

Whether you are new to the sport or you’ve been instructing divers for years, a first aid kit is something every diver should have on their packing list for each dive. A store with medical supplies is hardly ever within close proximity of a dive site, so packing a useful diving first aid kit is always a good idea. Even when diving with a resort or a liveaboard operation, it’s still wise to bring a first aid kit. It can be the difference between a minor annoyance and something that ends your trip, or worse, threatens your health.

What you should consider before making your first aid kit.

The contents of your first aid kit can differ based on the type of diving you do, your training, and any personal medical needs you may have. A diver who prefers to do most of their diving with groups in a resort setting could pack much less than the buddy group going spearfishing from their personal boat. Many diving first aid items require special training to administer such as Oxygen and AEDs. You should seek the proper training before deciding to add these items to your kit. You should also take any personal medical needs into consideration when building a first aid kit. Add extra of any medications you are currently taking and any emergency supplies you may need for an allergic reaction.

What should you pack?

When creating your diving first aid kit, a commercial kit may be a good place to start. Many manufacturers of these kits have sought the expertise of active and experienced divers when building them. Purchasing one of these pre-made first aid kits, such as the Dive 1st Aid Scuba Diver Kit, and adding the items you want or need will increase your chances of having what you need when you need it.

If you’ve decided to build your own diving first aid kit, then it is important to know what you should pack so that you are prepared for the unexpected. Below is a basic list we have put together to assist you:

Storage Container: A waterproof box is recommended due to the increased chance of exposure to water, but not necessary. Choose a container that will best suit your needs. One that is separated into compartments will help you organize the items in your kit, making them easier to find in a first-aid situation. If you prefer to use a container without separate compartments, you can group items into bags to keep them organized.

Basic First Aid Items:

Non-Latex Gloves
5x9in Abdominal Pads
Triangular Bandage
3x3in Sterile Gauze Pads
4x4in Sterile Gauze Pads
Roller Bandage
Adhesive Waterproof Bandages (Assorted Sizes)
Adhesive Cloth Tape
Antibiotic Ointment
Alcohol Wipes
CPR Face Mask
Aspirin (81mg Each)
Ibuprofen Tablets
Acetaminophen Tablets
Space Blanket
Instant Cold Compress
Instant Heat Pack
Scissors or Shears

First Aid Instruction Booklet: In high stress or unfamiliar first aid situations, having a book to reference can help you give the correct care quickly.

Disposable Razor: Can be used to scrape off jellyfish tentacles, etc.

Vinegar: To neutralize the stings of some marine life.

Motion Sickness Medication: If you get motion sickness this is an obvious addition, but for those of you who don’t like seeing others feed the fish off the side of the boat you may want to pack some as well.

Ear ShieldEarShield: An oil solution sprayed into the ear pre-dive to repel water while diving.

Ear Beer: A combination of alcohol and vinegar used to dry and clean the ear post-dive.

After you’ve assembled your first aid kit, you will continue to add to it over time as your diving experience increases and you start to learn what you need to include for every dive trip. You should know where each item in your kit is located and you should be able to easily access any part in an emergency. It is also extremely important to open up and check your kit before each trip to ensure everything is there and in working order. Accidents can happen, so be prepared and dive safe!

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