Boaters may not realize it, but when they leave the shore and head out into open water, they are venturing out into a wilderness situation where help can be miles away and where self-reliance is key. There are many basic things boaters can do to be safer, among them requiring all passengers on board to wear safety vests and also ensuring that the boat has all required safety equipment in accordance with current Coast Guard regulations. One additional thing that boaters can do to be safe and keep those around them safe is to learn CPR and first aid skills.
CPR, or Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation, is a form of first-aid that is administered to a victim whose heart has stopped. While a great majority of heart attack victims die before they reach the hospital (92%), The American Heart Association suggests that many more of these victims could have survived if people around them had known CPR techniques. For heart attack victims, CPR allows blood to keep flowing to the brain, ensuring that the brain stays alive, even after the heart has stopped. If a person can be kept alive long enough for doctors to discover what is blocking or stopping the heart, the person has a far greater chance of survival. If a heart attack victim receives CPR, his or her chances of survival increase by twofold or even threefold amounts. Medical advances in heart care make it possible for medical practitioners to keep victims alive in the hospital long enough to discover the heart problem, and, if possible, fix it. Unfortunately, many heart attack victims arrive at the hospital dead because those around them were not able to administer immediate first aid.
When individuals go out on boats, CPR training is even more critical because help can be miles and sometimes hours away. The American Heart Association reports that as many as 70% of Americans don’t know how to react in a cardiac emergency. Unfortunately, many of these emergencies take place at home or at places where immediate medical care is unavailable.