A comprehensive guide to Marine Medicine

“A comprehensive guide to Marine Medicine” by Drs Eric Weiss and Michael Jacobs. Reviewed by Jimmy Cornell.

Possibly the most serious concern for anyone setting off on an offshore cruise is how to deal with a medical emergency. Most sailors have little knowledge or experience in this field, and while a few take the precaution to join a first aid course before leaving, most hope it will not happen to them. On Aventura I have a comprehensive medicine chest put together by a doctor friend, and I am happy to say that in these last seven years of cruising I never had to deal with any medical emergencies on my own boat, although I did treat some injuries and infections among sailors on other boats or villagers ashore.

My life would have been so much easier when I had to deal with those cases if I had a copy of a recently published book “A comprehensive guide to Marine Medicine” by Drs Eric Weiss and Michael Jacobs. The small format book is packed with useful information and covers any eventuality, from broken bones to cardiac arrest. The book is extremely user-friendly and gives easy to follow instructions for evaluating and treating virtually any medical problem at sea. One of the most attractive features is the so-called Weiss Advice, in which Dr. Weiss describes improvised medical techniques and gives down-to-earth practical tips on how to deal with certain problems, such as redressing a dislocated shoulder, how to improvise a splint, even how to get rid of a blister (with a drop of superglue!). Another valuable feature of the book is the “When to Worry” boxes that help the reader identify those situations in which immediate evacuation is necessary. There is much supplementary material dealing with such subjects as the evacuation of the sick and injured, how to abandon ship and even tips on life raft survival.

Both authors have a lot of practical outdoor experience and have a good understanding of what offshore sailors require. Dr. Jacobs is well known as a regular speaker at the Safety at Sea seminars and teaches a medicine for mariners course.

“A comprehensive guide to Marine Medicine” is published by Adventure Medical Kits P.O.Box 43309, Oakland, CA 94624, USA, ISBN 0-9659768-2-3 and costs $16.95

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