Vol 70, No 4 (2019)
Original article
Published online: 2019-12-24

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Medical kit for single-handed offshore yacht races

Jean Christophe Fimbault1, Jean Marc Le Gac2, Bruno Barberon1, Vincent Lafay1, Jean Pierre Auffray1
Pubmed: 31891175
IMH 2019;70(4):220-225.


Background: The medical kit is the basis of medical support in maritime environment; it is defined by international or national regulations and guidelines. For offshore races, rules and recommendations are proposed by national or international sailing federations. Sailing and racing offshore alone presents specificities that sometimes make it difficult to apply the usual recommendations. The epidemiology of single-handed offshore race is dominated by traumatic risks. Medical events are relatively rare because competitors are high-level athletes, generally young and subject to complete medical assessments. The scarcity of available scientific data makes it necessary to choose appropriate methods for developing recommendations. The purpose of this work is to propose a medical kit adapted and applicable to these situations.

Materials and methods: The method used was that of “Professional recommendations by formal consensus of experts” derived from the Rand/UCLA method. After a critical analysis of the literature, a panel of 19 experts having expertise in medicine in maritime environment was gathered from various medical specialties (cardiologist, internist, intensivist and emergency physician, ear-nose-throat physician and general practitioner) and from varied medical activities. They had not declared any direct conflict of interest.

Results: A medical kit proposal has been developed. The choice of drugs was based on the analysis of the epidemiology of medical events observed during the last offshore races. The experts’ choice was to reduce the quantity of medication and medical devices in order to limit the risk of confusion of medicines and dosages. Drugs with significant side effects or requiring third party monitoring have been removed. Medical devices designed to do an intervention impossible to perform on oneself have also been eliminated.

Conclusions: Solo sailing remains a marginal maritime activity with specific risks. The development of single-handed races requires an adaptation of medical support through the development of a specific medical kit and adapted training. The formalised consensus of experts seems to be an appropriate method for developing recommendations in the field of maritime medicine.

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