Chandlery February 2009 Issue

Of Leg Splints and Sani-Bags

First-aid kit series prompts a look at marine health and sanitation products.

During our recent testing of medical kits (June, August, October, and December 2008), four products caught Practical Sailor testers’ attention.

The first is the Sam Splint, developed by Sam Medical Products. A moldable piece of aluminum surrounded by closed cell foam, the Sam splint can be used to quickly immobilize limbs and joints in the case of a fracture or severe sprain. To use, simply shape the splint to surround the injured area and secure it with elastic bandage or tape. Available online through emergency medical suppliers or camping equipment retailers, the Sam splints come in finger-size to femur-size, with a 36 x 4-inch roll (enough to immobilize a lower leg) selling for $13 at Campmor (

The SAM Splint
The SAM splint comes in sizes large enough to immobilize a broken femur.


Sam Medical Products also markets Celox, a hemostatic agent used to control severe bleeding fast. Each 4-inches-square packet contains hemostatic granules that, when applied to the source of bleeding, form a "robust" gel clot in less than a minute. The product works independent of the body’s normal clotting process, and even works in the presence of extreme cold. In an emergency when an artery has been severed, a hemostatic agent, combined with compression and bandaging may mean the difference between life or death. Available through medical equipment suppliers, a packet of Celox sells for $14 at


Waterjel Burn Dressing, a burn treatment developed by Water-Jel Technologies, is already packed in some of the marine medical kits on the market today. Because a burn can continue to cause tissue damage until the surface is cooled, quick and effective treatment is essential. Waterjel combines a cooling gel, a bandage, and pain-relieving lidocaine in a package that can be quickly applied in an emergency. Waterjel bandage products are available in sizes that range from a 4 x 4-inch bandages to full-size fire blankets designed to treat victims with severe body burns. The 4 x 4-inch bandage and treatment gel sells for $3.50 at


When a nurse and a reader of Practical Sailorfirst sent us the Sani-bag from AliMed Inc., the prospect of bagging our poop seemed, well, unappealing. But after a couple seasons of following the usual protocol with the porta-potty on our smaller test powerboat, the idea seemed less far-fetched. Similar to what national parks now provide back-country hikers to pack human waste in, the Sani-bag is effectively a garbage bag with a gelling agent in the bottom that turns solids into a gel, and neutralizes odors. The bag is then packed into a heavy-duty zip-lock bag that can be stored onboard until it can be dumped ashore with the rest of the onboard garbage. AliMed sells a 12-pack of Sani-bags for $30, but they can be found for less at some online medical supply houses.

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