Kayak First Aid Kit Essentials

-by Jay Murdock, SDKC Safety Editor


  • Band Aids – Different sizes (Butterfly, 1×3, 2”, 4”, Triangle, Steri-Strips)
  • Small Knife – Ideal is a Swiss Army pen knife with scissors, tweezers, etc.
  • Chewable Dramamine – Acts faster than Bonine, etc.
  • Benadryl OTC – For allergic reactions
  • Roll Gauze – For wrapping an arm, etc.
  • Gauze Pads – Use direct pressure to stop bleeding
  • First Aid Waterproof Bandage Tape, or “Sports Tape”
  • Aspirin – For pain, head ache, or angina
  • Neosporin or Triple Antibiotic Ointment
  • White Vinegar or meat tenderizer (for Jelly Fish stings) – Keep in a small plastic bottle
  • Sterile Eye Pads –Secure with the Waterproof tape
  • Antiseptic Wipes
  • Paramedic Shears / Splinter Forceps (optional, but good to have)
  • Splint – Use your Bilge Pump for a splint
  • 20 ft of 1/8 inch cord (for splint, outrigger float lashing, etc)
Even small kits can contain several items

Even small kits can contain several items


  • Energy Bars/Drink/Pills – Even a regular Coke or Pepsi will suffice; having both sugar and caffeine will warm up the body quickly. Energy Gels with caffeine are great.
  • Small Towel – to dry off the person after the upper clothing is removed
  • Poly Fleece shirt & Wind Break Shell – to put on the person after drying off

Note: Unless the person is also really sick, have them paddle right away to warm up. Only tow them if they are very weak and help is not on the way, but have them paddle also, to get warm. If the person can not paddle, raft one boat along side to hold the person upright, optionally lash up a float outrigger for extra stability if facing a long paddle back, and have 2-3 people tow both of them. 

This list is only for local San Diego waters, and not intended for remote trips.

– contributed by Jay Murdock