Narrowboat Medical Emergency, First Aid & Accident GPS Spot

So in this episode I was going to talk
about how I had completed the plumbing and I had fitted one side of the kitchen
together but unfortunately on day 2 of my project this week, it all came to an
abrupt halt, as I had a bit of an incident! I was kneeling down, I had just
finished fitting some clips onto a batten. There was a angle that you
would hang a radiator on, now they’re quite sharp, fixed to the wall. I
wasn’t using any tools, I stood up and sliced the front of my knee open on one
of the angles from the radiator brackets. So as soon as I realised that the cut
was a bit deeper and a bit bigger than just a scratch and a plaster, and the
fact that I knew that I would actually have to go to hospital. I thought, right,
okay I need to dress it because I need to get in the car and drive myself there
and I didn’t want blood all over the car. So I cleansed the wound.
I have got a number of saline tubes in my emergency kit and I cleaned the wound
out. I then dried it off, I put a gauze patch on top of the cut and then I had a
roll plaster, wrapped it around the leg around the back of the knee round, round
and round and then I sealed it off with a bit of sticky plaster, to sort of fix it in
place. I took a number of gauzes
that soak up blood with me, just in case it started leaking in the car.
I am off to A&E because I definitely need stitches. I’ve patched it up
but it’s bleeding and you can see right the way through to this the kneecap,
which is lovely! It doesn’t really hurt but it’s about a good, one and a half
inches to two inch slice, so anyway, off to QMC. I got into A&E, I signed
myself in and a nurse quickly came out and put a pad on the floor so I could
put my foot on it. We laughed and sort of, because we didn’t want to get
blood all over the floor and it would put the other customers off we laughed
at. Quite quickly I went in to see a triage nurse and he indicated that I had
patched up quite nicely. I had done myself a lot of favors by cleaning the
wound and patching it up in the way that I did. He redressed it and verified that
yes, I would need stitches, which was done by different nurse. I went out into the
waiting room only a couple of minutes, this was normally about three or four
minutes between each one of these. Now A&E waiting times can be sort of hours,
sometimes like three or four hours before you get seen but because I think,
I think it was because I was leaving blood everywhere I went, they sort of
speeded up the process for me. Now of course because it is an open wound
and because it is a bit gory, I’m going to give a bit of a warning now. So if you
don’t like blood, or gore, or needles going through skin, then look away now
and I’ll tell you again when it’s safe to look. So you can look back again now. They
re-dressed the wound and they explained that in about half an hour, an hour the
anaesthetic that they had pumped in around the knee, was going to wear off
and the pain would start. So it was important for me to get some ibuprofen
to stop the swelling and some paracetamol to aid the pain. Well I’ve got my
painkillers and I’m now back to the car and now I’ve got to get through this
rush hour in Nottingham before it wears off and I need to get back on my boat.
What a day! How to stop doing the plumbing. I was going really well but still anyway,
these things happen but I’m pleased I had a good first aid kit on board, and
I’m pleased I had my car next to the boat. So I’ve got to go back in ten days,
to a local doctors and to get the stitches removed and so they can have a
look at it, but it’ll be fine, it’s just a slice wound, but it’s just quite deep and
right on the knee, which is a real pain, but anyway. I also wanted to restock the
things that I had used in my first-aid kit, because you never know when the next
incident is going to happen. I’m not particularly accident-prone, there’s some
people that go to A&E or cut themselves every week but,
it doesn’t happen very often for me. But when it does happen, it usually does
happen on a catastrophic scale, shall we say but anyway. I got back to the boat
as quickly as I could, I took some paracetamol and I just took
it easy and for the last couple of days, I haven’t really done that much. Bending
the knee has been a bit difficult because the skin stretches on the knee
but I’ve let it, I’ve opened it up, I’ve taken the plaster off the top and let it
breathe and it’s healing quite nicely. Meanwhile life on the River Soar
carried on as normal. When I returned from the hospital,
Molly clearly knew that something had happened, as she barked at cows on the
other side of the water. Now she very rarely barks, this was unusual for her
and showed she knew something wasn’t right. There’s probably different levels
of first-aid kit that most people have in their home. There’ll be the very, very
basic, which will probably be a five-year out-of-date tube of Savlon, and a box
of half used plasters, and that’s probably about it! Then you have like a
family kit or a traditional green or red bag kit, which will have quite a lot of
necessities, or like me I have quite an advanced first aid kit. I always have
done, I went around the world backpacking when I was 20 and I thought it was
important because I went on my own, to have a good first-aid kit. So it stemmed
from then. Since then, I have worked for 999, the emergency services, in the
British Telecom call centres, so taking the 999 calls and dealing with those, and
then of course whilst working for BBC News I’ve been out with many fire engine
crews, ambulance crews, police crews and air ambulance. I was with them for two
weeks and I got to see a lot of different surgical scenarios, where
people have impaled themselves, they’ve cut themselves
and all sorts of different levels. So I’ve always kept a good first-aid kit.
With my first-aid kit, I have four main areas. The front pocket has things
like scissors, gloves, wipes, antiseptic wipes, the sorts of things that you would
need first of all. The middle larger pocket, top left has saline solution.
They’re in tubes, so I can quickly get them out and flush out either an eye if I’ve
got something in my eye, or flush out a wound. Clean it, much better to use saline
solution than water for example. On the right hand side of the first-aid kit
I have melolin wound dressing, I’ve got eye patches. I’ve got PFA dressings which
would go directly on a wound, all different sizes, from quite small to
medium to large. I’ve also got a an emergency bandage. At the back of the
main section, I have a good first aid manual. It’s from St. Johns Ambulance and
it’s the tenth edition and it’s quite detailed in all sorts of different areas.
In the left pocket I have all of my sterile bandages and fabric dressing and
triangular bandage for arms and that sort of thing. And then the final pocket
is not for me, final pocket on the right hand side is
actually a first aid kit for Molly. You never know when dogs are going to get
injured. I had a previous Labrador called Sash,
and we were just out for a walk and she obviously trod on some glass or
something sharp and she sliced one of her pads on her foot, clean in
half, limping away, when I got her back to home and I got out my
dog first aid kit and we sealed up the pad, I cleaned it all out and I put a
bandage on and it healed up really nicely. Of
course injuries with humans and dogs are very similar, but the bandages have to be
a little bit more robust because dogs have a habit of wanting to bite them off.
So that’s in the right hand side. Now, I also have a small first aid kit for when
I go out walking. Really tiny, fits into a pocket or hangs off a belt. It’s got all
main essential so, scissors, antiseptic, melolin dressing, a bandage, a bit of
antiseptic cream, some tweezers, plasters, all sorts of things that you would need
if you were out walking across the field or out in the woods. Nice and simple. If I
was out in the middle of nowhere and this incident occurred, I would have
to deal with it myself. Part of my first-aid kit I do have some
sutra stitches, which are basically very, very sticky, tacky strips. You
would, I would wash out the wound, pull the wound closer together and sutra
stitch over the wound and that would enable me, a bit longer to either move
the boat to an area where I could go to an emergency ward, or to an area where I
could get to a road and call a taxi or get on a bus. It’s exactly the same as
other stitches but it would just take longer to heal. All of those sorts of
things I do have in my first-aid kit because you just don’t know what’s going
to happen, with me on my own, I could be out in the wilderness. I like traveling
out & mooring up in rolling countryside, my mum always takes the mickey out of me,
because I say rolling countryside, so that’s for you mum! But I like mooring up
in areas where there’s no one around, where there’s no vehicles, where it’s
lovely and quiet. However those areas, when you have an
incident away and you have an emergency, are a little bit more tricky to deal
with. Now, a mobile phone, when you dial 999,
which is the UK emergency number or 112 which is the pan-european
emergency number, both of those go through to the same call centre. I know
that because I used to work in that call centre. Neither has preferential
treatment over others, it’s a bit of a myth that if you ring 112, you
get through quicker, it doesn’t, it goes through exactly the same. If you looked
at your phone and I’m with EE and I could see there was absolutely no
reception, there is a system within the United Kingdom called ‘camped on’. That
means whenever you dial 112 or 999, it will use other services mobile phone
reception. So for example, if I had nothing on EE, I could dial 999 and if
there was a neighbouring network available, for example Vodafone, it would
use that service and that’s called a ‘camped on’ service. They can’t phone you,
you can’t phone anyone else but it’s purely there for 112 or 999 emergency
calls. Now a couple of years ago, I took my previous dog Sash for a walk, I was miles
and miles and miles away, I like going on sort of quite rural walks with with the
dog. Sometimes I camp out overnight, get a
little Jerry stove and all that sort of thing. I went for a walk,
fell down this bank. It was almost like sliding down the bank into like a
scruff area, where there was some woods and I thought to myself, as I sat in a
bit of a heap at the bottom, I wonder what would actually happen here if I had
broken my leg, or I had broken my femur or I’d broken my arm, or something quite
drastic. I had no mobile phone reception and it was probably quite likely that
there was no other coverage there, so how on earth would I get out of that
scenario? Yes I could drag myself up the bank but then what do I do? I can’t drag
myself for miles and miles, especially if I’ve got a broken femur or
an open wound somewhere and it occurred to me,
what on earth would I do? Exactly the same scenario if I fell in the engine
bay or I fell over something in the boat or I fell down on the towpath, but
miles and miles from anywhere. I have one final emergency get-out bit of kit, and
that is my SPOT. The device is battery-powered and there
are five different buttons on it. You can enable the GPS tracking and it’ll update a
Google map of my position at set intervals. The OK button can be used as a
check-in, to say you’re about to set off and here is my map location for example. The
custom message button could be for arrival info. If there was a non
life-threatening situation but I needed help, I can use the help button. I could
press this and it could let my contacts know I needed help and give my exact
location via GPS satellite. In the event of a life-or-death emergency, I can lift
the right flap and press the red SOS button. The GEOS International Emergency
Coordination Centre provides my GPS coordinates and information to local
response teams. It’s for emergencies only. But does give me and my family that
final peace of mind that I can get help if nothing else works. I’m not saying you
need all or any of the items if you plan to live afloat. I’m just indicating what
I have and why I feel it’s important to be prepared when navigating on my own, in
rural locations. All the items I’ve discussed are detailed in the
description below. So if I have an accident again, let’s hope I don’t, but if
I do I’m pretty sure I have all my bases covered. I either have a very good
emergency kit, I’ve got a mobile phone that can ring or if worst case scenario,
I’ve got my SPOT. So let’s hope it doesn’t happen again and let’s just
crack on with getting the rest of the episodes out. My knee is
fixing up quite nicely, I let it breathe and it’s healing, doesn’t really hurt
anymore but it has stopped me from bending over and doing quite as much, but
that shouldn’t be for too long and hopefully the next episode will be back
to normal.


  1. Well done you used your down time to make a very informative video.

    I worked in the tunnel construction industry and have been trained in tunnel rescue. The training included first responder, breathing apparatus rescue and fire fighting. We were also trained in saving life not limbs etc. Something that takes a lot of courage. The brief is just get the guy out to a safer area, then administer first aid.

    One item we did carry in the emergency kit was a roll of cling film, a very quick method of stabilising a limb, covering a wound and can be twisted, cut, torn etc. etc. To make slings what ever., another useful item is Gaffe tape, sorry duct tape!!!! 

    I went to sea in my boat so all passengers were taught how to use the VHF radio with prompt cards displayed, where the first aid kit is stored, fire extinguisher use and how to stop, start and steer the boat.

    Good luck with your refit and make sure all sharp edges are covered. BS

  2. A tip on covering sharp edges is to buy some clear plastic tubing, cut to length and split along to open out the tube. Slip this over the exposed edge.
    Do take care when cutting the tube and installing it over the sharp edge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  BS

  3. So sorry to see you injured, but glad you're on the mend. Looking forward to new videos with great commentary.

  4. Perhaps a suture kit in addition, check out military first aid stuff on ebay. There are some stop bleeding agents that will even stop an artery, also a good addition if your out in the boonies.

  5. Saw you today passing Redhill Marina – gone to check on the progress of my boat. Glad to see you are back on your feet.

  6. Thanks for the information I wish more travel blogs talk about there trouble /emergence plans or kits. Going to travel the U.S. rivers soon the more info the better. And on a side note,Do you need a different type of boating license to be a live aboard or just a normal boat license

  7. Hi Jono, what a surprise when we saw you and Molly
    today passing the Thrumpton Weir at Trent Lock. Glad to see your knee is on the mend. An excellent day for being out on the boat rather than working inside it. All the best, NB Pretty
    Amazing Grace

  8. Hi Jono…speaking as a retired US Firefighter/Paramedic you did everything right with this medical emergency…very good informative video for folks to learn from…glad to hear your healing well and glad it wasn't anymore serious…one other thing you may wish to include in your excellent first aid kit is large or extra large womens sanitary pads…they absorb blood better than anything else I know and in an injury with lots of blood can make a big difference…worth keeping a couple in one of your pouches…all the best Dave…

  9. Jono very cool explanation of first aid equipment as a charter boat operator we have lot's of stuff.  An important thing also for people with elergic reactions is an epi pen a bee sting can kill you.  I've seen people that are not normally affected struggle to breathe.  Hedgewick my dog was impressed to see Molly has her own kit I too have a bunch of different ointments and tablets in case.  Safe travels to you good luck with the fit out.

  10. I enjoy your videos very much. A very professional look. I have one question for you. There is some kind of antenna on the starboard side just ahead of the tiller position. What is the purpose of this device? Keep up the good work.

  11. Wow Jono, that was a shocker. A true testimony to your metal that you were able to keep your wits about you and act so quickly. I was half expecting a John Rambo moment, stitching up the wound yourself, gulp. Reminds me of when I sliced through my leg just below the knee with a disc cutter whilst laying a patio. The stitches were easily the most painful moment of the whole experience. Great to hear you're on the mend. 🙂

  12. It has now been a couple of weeks since your injury video. I hope you are healing with no complications. I once deeply cut the back of my left thumb when doing diy. I was amazed how long it took to heal and how it disrupted the project – and I am not even left handed! Just wanted to let you know that you are missed and your viewers are wishing you well.

  13. Just wondering as you have sold your house do you intend to stay on the canals until retirement and beyond or even until lifes end. If you are planning a return to a house in the future the market values could have moved substantially against you.

  14. Great video Jono, another addition to your kit to consider is an Israeli Bandage.  It is a battlefield dressing that has a built in pressure bar for applying against a severe wound.  Keep up the fantastic content 🙂

  15. Glad you are healing well and knew what to do in that situation, that first aid kit on the boat sure was worth it's weight in gold. In a round about way I liked this video. ATB

  16. If you get metal in your eye; use distilled or tap water as the saline will make the metal rust and bond to the surface of the eyeball.

  17. Great upload Jono; Just two words 'super glue' – it was originally formulated & meant to be used as an emergency field dressing (for troops and such) where sutures weren't readily available, albeit now more commonly used for DIY projects; Keep some in your First Aid Kit 🙂

  18. In the States we have an item called WoundSeal which is a powder you place on any bad cut. It will immediately stop the bleeding and clot the wound, giving you time to get to emergency. Every first aid kit should have this. It has come in handy for me a couple of time over the years.

  19. I travel solo in my campervan here in Oz.
    I carry quite a comprehensive kit with me at all times.
    If you get in trouble out bush, it may be many hours or days before help can get to you.

  20. You know what impressed me most about the video, that you were so calm and practical during this stressful situation. A lot of people can't stand the sight of blood, especially their own, and will panic and make the situation worse, or even faint.
    It makes you wonder how some people manage to get through life on their own. (or are they the people who just have to be in a relationship, any old relationship, so they have someone to take care of them?)

  21. Hi Jono – I ordered all the stuff you recommended but for some reason I omitted the
    Normal First Aid Kit:
    The link doesn't work anymore, much appreciated if you could send me the details.


  22. THANK YOU FOR your heads up…blood/wound scene….thank you. I will go on watching now..:) just found out about you…after watching crusing the cut and ed's narrowboat I found you 🙂 we dont have canals in Romania, but sumetimes I dream of having a vacation on the canals of England thanks o you and others that vloged on this subject 🙂 Thank you for this Vlog and giving me an inside look for your life. If i get to England i'll let u know. I want to give Molly a toy 😀 thank you again and sorry for posting this …at this video 🙂

  23. and next time u get an open wound like that…use a lot of betadine…iodine based…stops the bleading and closes the wound quite fast 🙂

  24. Nice one Jono!…Keeping calm in a crisis is a big help as well as having a bit of savvy and a decent first aid kit regarding patching yourself up in an emergency. Most cuts can be dealt with, with sticky sutures but a cut like this certainly needs some needlework. Helpful video.

  25. hi about marine radio or CB radio modern radio are easy to program in Emergency open lock and flood warning

  26. And its the NHS so it cost you…… $0 £0, nada, zilch, nothing, not a sausage! lol
    Something our Americans cousins could learn from 🙂

  27. It would never occur to me to take my camera to the emergency room. My wife is having a knee replacement next week in Houston. I will be sure to bring my camera for her to document the surgery. (Joke).

  28. I was in a car wreck. and nearly cut my leg off just below the knee. only the calf muscle and the skin behind my leg was holding it on. the bone was even broke. there was a gap across the front below my knee. wide as my hand. 4"+. and a good 9"-10" long. it got tendons and all. knee cap was flapping. now there is a 1.5" wide scar. about 10" long. going around my led. my knee cap isn't where it was. and I have hardware. in the bone just above the scar. that looks like another knee cap! I can barely bump it on something. and it hurts so bad I nearly puked a few times when I hit it on something. I'm very lucky to still have it. I also completely crushed my heal and tendon also. after alot of cutting and screwing. ( they basically cut my heal off peeled it back!!) and built me a new heal and tendon. it is still very painful. and very hard to find shoes to fit. my feet font match anymore!!, and it made one leg longer! not by much .but I notice it! it's amazing how tough we are. yet do very fragile. and the DR's can do alot these days!! sorry for the rambles! it's been well over 12 years ago. and hurts like crap every day. but I still have it! and can kinda still use it. so lucky I am!!!….. and yes you gotta be careful when no one is around. just a small wound . and you may never be heard from again!!! be safe and keep at it!!

  29. You poor thing! Very well handled, my partner and I were both Nurses and I was in the Red Cross First Aid, we were impressed at how immaculately you dealt with all of it, especially your considerations for viewers.

  30. Ahh the good old EPIRB I've got one of those for my scuba trips in case I surface to find the boat left without me… thankfully it's never happened..

  31. It looked like a good straight cut for suturing. We used to practice on turkey legs for midwifery. You did a good job of first aid and they got you stitched back together so it should heal up ok. Sorry that it impeded your progress on the plumbiing, but glad you are alright and will work another time.

  32. Narrowboating is deceptively slow and peaceful. One isn't aware of the inherent dangers. 😀 Glad you were prepared to deal with the cut. Preparation is 9/10 of managing difficulties. Alex

  33. This is making me think about my long bicycle rides along what we call rail trails, bicycle paths that run along old railroad tracks. I'm sometimes 12 miles or more from any help. No roads run along these old tracks so I've assumed emergency medical services would have to fly in to help me. I need to build a small kit to carry with me. Alex

  34. I've been in the situation where I've come off my motorbike (not an off road bike, just took a corner and slipped on mud/wet leaves during an autumn ride) and landed in a field in rural North Wales, when I came to, I knew the accident was bad enough to concern me about my back and neck. I gingerly retrieved my phone from an inside pocket after calling for help out loud but noone was around.

    My phone had no service at all. Nothing whatsoever. The 112 situation only works if there is a signal of some kind. 🙁

    This led to one of the most terrifying situations I'd ever experienced. Thankfully I was only there for an hour or so before a dog walker found my motorbike and heard my cries for help, I wasn't visible from the road or foot path and difficult to spot in the long grass.

    I've since added a loud distress whistle to my jacket but I'm eyeing that GPS device with envy, it's crazy how you think "meh I'll never need it" but it's the stupid rare stuff that just happens and leaves you in a situation which could easily be life threatening.

    Thankfully, no back injuries, just a fractured shoulder and a couple of broken fingers, a few cuts, some crazy bruising and one almighty concussion that left the room spinning overnight.

  35. Jono, what do you do to ensure your mobile stays charged? On Sunday I ran out of petrol and my mobile cable packed up so my mobile ran out. Luckily I was able to reach a fish and chip shop and get assistance. I ran out of petrol after taking a wrong turn on google maps into the middle of nowhere, and the google maps drained the phone power. I’m just wondering any belts and braces ways to avoid the phone going flat in future as I prepare to move on to boat. Love your channel, I’m learning loads as a woman doing it on my own,

  36. Do u have on board gps plus emergency communications such as cb or ham radio as backup to mobile phones good info on no signal on mobile phone

  37. That spot device looks interesting I used to carry an old tracking unit for lone workers that was a preprogrammed mobile so u Coul answer and call certain preprogrammed numbers and they could follow your tracker you could send a location txt etc it even worked on a pay go sim does your spot run on a contract or subscription etc and If so what are the costs

  38. The one thing you missed, is how do you rotate your supplies. Perhaps another video, "What I do differently as I travel alone"

  39. Always remember when you are working with metal it is always best to round off any sharp edges, that way you don't hurt yourself with it, and also in a place like the UK spray where you cut and grind it with cold Gal that way it won't rust so easily

  40. One thing you might consider for Molly's care is to have some hydrogen peroxide in case she eats something that might be dangerous for her. The rule of thumb I have seen is 1 teaspoon (5 ml) for every 10 pounds of body weight which can be repeated once if she does not vomit within 15 minutes. I had to use this after my dog ingested some grapes. It worked like a charm.

  41. Glad you were so well prepared. Im heading straight away to the pharmacy to put a kit together for myself.
    Be well

  42. Please consider a tourniquet (a real one – not a rubber band one), just in case something catastrophic happens.

  43. Very helpful level of detail about your first aid kit. Hope you didn't suffer too much with that slice–it looked nasty.

  44. So essential to have a quality first aid kit – I have a large one in our home and, a smaller one in our car – both of our daughters are medicos – our eldest, a senior nurse and our youngest, a member of our ambulance service as a team member of a Community Emergency Response Team, and they helped with the selection – look very similar to yours. Well done Jono 👍👏👏👏

  45. Very useful information there Jono. I take long walks too, often well away from civilisation, so I'll be buying a pocket first aid kit to carry with me. I've never needed one yet, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

  46. ive been looking into something like "spot"… it sounds like a perfect solution. Since i was responsible for my own whereabouts and safety as a teenager, I have always travelled with "something" for emergencies, I say this in a very loose sense of the word as a youngster it was a tatty roll of bandage and a handful of plasters in my pocket with a roll of tape. obviously now things have gotten more sophisticated, i'm never more than a few metres away from my car or house, except when camping or on holiday, so both in the house and car I have advanced first aid kit's, travel kit which lives in my hand luggage travel bag, and a larger version of my house kit goes with me on camping trips, belt and braces, the more time you spend in unfamiliar territory, without mod-cons of modern living, the more chance for something to go wrong and the more chance medical assistance will be needed. Good video, it needs a 2 thumbs up option 😀

  47. Good grief, that was no small injury. It looked painful. Fantastic first aid kit. I have an extensive one in my car, a bit smaller than yours. Never thought of a special kit for my dog, though. That's a great idea. Thank you!

  48. I love your music choices for background. I imagine copyright infringement might be a concern, otherwise I’d suggest the Stones ‘Let it Bleed’ for this segment. Best wishes and safe travels.

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