First Aid Afloat
The breeze freshened from the southwest and the sea built as the afternoon passed. A trio of kayakers approached, planning to land on the bold granite shore of one of Maine’s outer islands. Low and exposed as the island was, the surf followed the contour of the land and a lee was difficult to find.
Landing on the jagged shore required timing as the sea rose and fell about them. Two of the three landed safely, hauled their boats ashore and were momentarily distracted by a rare glimpse of the nesting Atlantic Puffin.
The final paddler waited moments too late and his ride in exploded. His scream alerted the two bird watchers and they turned in time to see their friend drop with the swell and tumble into the cold coastal water.
The wet paddler was rapidly hauled out of the water, complaining of pain in the lower right leg. There were obvious barnacle lacerations to his palms from the tumble into and scramble out of the bay. His friends immediately set to work; they’d have to clean and bandage the lacerations, stabilize a possible lower leg fracture, prevent hypothermia, and formulate an evacuation plan. Would you know what to do?
S.O.L.O., an acronym for Stonehearth Open Learning Opportunities, teaches people how to deal with medical emergencies in the wild. Founded by Dr. Frank Hubbell in 1975, the school conducts wilderness medicine programs ranging from the two-day Backcountry Medicine Program to the month-long Wilderness Emergency Medical Technician Program. State and national certification is awarded to those completing the longer program.
The Marine Medicine Institute, a division of SOLO, focuses on injuries that are most probable in the marine environment. All courses are taught by emergency medical technicians, paramedics, registered nurses and doctors who have spent years expeditioning in a variety of environments.
For more information, contact the Marine Medicine Institute
c/o S.O.L.O., RFD #1, Box 163, Conway, NH, 03818,
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