There are numerous dangers in the ocean and waterways that Kayakers and Rafters must be prepared for on the water. Most people don’t think about bleeding injuries when they think about kayaking or whitewater rafting. Most people think about drowning, or concussions. While the latter do happen, that doesn’t mean you should skip over bleeding or crush injuries. Yes, I said crush injuries in addition to bleeding because a tourniquet may be used to save a life for both. Tourniquets are lightweight, user-friendly bleeding control devices that can stop a bleed quickly, and a tourniquet is the only bleeding control medical device that is not compromised by water. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have some type of gauze or hemostatic dressings with you, but it does mean you need to have a tourniquet made specifically for the ocean and water. Currently, there is only one tourniquet on the market that is specifically designed for water sports such as kayaking and whitewater rafting, and you probably haven’t heard about it before. That’s why it’s so important to research before you buy. Below are some things to consider as a kayaker or whitewater guide when buying a tourniquet:
The water is a much different environment, and has additional considerations for first aid equipment and applications that must be taken into account. The composition of your tourniquet should be of corrosion resistant materials. Nylons are typically used in nonpnuematic tourniquets along with an additional compression mechanism. Whatever mechanism is used whether a windlass or ratchet it must be stainless steel. Ask the company that sells the device before you buy. If their compression mechanism is plain steel, iron, or other alloy it doesn’t matter if it’s powder coated because you are going to scratch that powder coating off, and then you’ve got a tourniquet that is corroding or rusting.
Regarding tourniquets and the water you will want to ensure that your tourniquet can be applied quickly with gross motor skills. Gross motor skills are the abilities required in order to control the large muscles of the body for walking, running, sitting, crawling, and other activities. If there are intricate moving parts, and fine motor movements to apply the tourniquet, it will take additional time to apply, which means you are going to lose more blood, and or in the case of crush injuries may allow sepsis to spread further.
This is one of the most important considerations. A tourniquet that cannot be applied quickly, and easily with only one hand has a significant design flaw. You don’t know that your arm or hand will be incapacitated when injured so you have to have a tourniquet that can be applied one-handed. A bonus feature to look for is a bite-strap because it helps you apply the tourniquet one-handed faster.
Some Tourniquets may claim they are corrosion resistant or made for marine environments, however, once you take an actual look at what they offer you can easily see that their claims are pure after-thought marketing, and that they are not true marine tourniquets. The OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet and its other water sport variants were all specifically made for marine environments like the ocean, rivers, lakes, swamps, and similar. The specifications are specifically for true corrosion resistance and saltwater use. As a kayaker / whitewater rafter, or other water sport participant the proof is clear that the OMNA Amphibious Tourniquet is the only marine tourniquet, and the best option for you.