Objective: No publications are available actually regarding cruising sailors that spends most of the year on offshore cruising sailboats. To get a better insight of this population, their traumatic events were studied to define appropriate prevention means.
Design, Setting and Patients: Primary care data were collected prospectively through a questionnaire during in-depth interviews with one of the authors (FM), of 100 cruising sailboat crews which called at Martinique between December 2001 and May 2002.
Main outcome measurements: 56 injuries were reported, 20 involved the upper limb, 20 the lower limb, and 7 the head and neck. There were also 19 burns, 11 of which were photoinduced and 8 accidental. There were 16 skin infections, 3 of which were complicated with arthritis.
Results: After analysis, majority of these pathologies would be prevent if these recommendations were applied. Wearing shoes would avoid foot injuries. A hatch cover would efficiently protect from cranial trauma caused by the boom. To protect from the sun, a bimini top would be most useful. A windlass would avoid hand injuries and acute low back pain. Lastly, meticulous wound care up to complete healing would prevent skin superinfections which are common complications in the marine world.
Conclusions: Whereas professional seafarer and ocean racer pathologies are well described, pathologies of the increasingly growing cruising sailor population have been little studied. Development of easy and inexpensive worldwide network connection will allowed to better take in account this moving population.
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