Sailing Medical Courses

There are a bewildering number of first aid courses available, some of which are ‘approved’ by the RYA for sailors others offer more specific medical training.

Each course is designed to match the scenarios most likely to be encountered – so it is worth taking a First Aid course designed for sailors as it will reflect the on-board equipment, the types of passages the vessel will undertake and, importantly, how far away from medical help you may be.

Most sailing qualifications require an appropriate medical course, but it’s not just about ticking the box – it is also an incredibly sensible precaution to take for your own safety and that of your crew. 

First Aid training

What sailing medical courses are available to me?

Vortec Marine currently offer 3 different medical courses approved by either the RYA or MCA. 

RYA First Aid – A 1-day course covering essential first aid. Dealing with emergency response or how to make a casualty comfortable until help arrives. Focussed on recreational sailors on small sailing or power boats.  Anyone who sails should complete this as a minimum, and it is required for RYA Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster qualifications.  

MCA Medical First Aid – A more advanced 4-day course and includes dealing with wounds, fractures, soft-tissue injuries.  Especially ideal for those travelling more than 60NM offshore (but less than 150NM) and a requirement for many superyacht roles.

MCA Medical Care onboard Ship – An advanced level 5-day course including performing minor surgery, diagnosing conditions with respiratory and cardiovascular systems, ENT and dental as well as delivering satellite assisted medical attention. Recommended for ocean passages.  This course used to be called the Ships Captains Medical and requires completion of the 4-day Medical First Aid course as a pre-requisite.  Requirement for most superyacht managerial positions.

MCA Medical Care training course

I’m sailing for fun and working towards my RYA Yachtmaster – which medical course should I do?

For the purpose of the RYA Yachtmaster, you’ll need to hold a 1-day first aid certificate (which covers hypothermia and drowning).  Whilst the RYA will accept Red Cross, St John’s Ambulance and various other courses the RYA First Aid certificate is preferred as it has more focus on situations likely to be encountered whilst sailing – such as seasickness, using a Cat C first aid kit and putting a casualty in the recovery position whilst in a confined space.

Any of the MCA/STCW courses listed would also acceptable (if completed within the previous 5 years).

If you are planning to skipper a yacht on a transatlantic passage or take part in an event like the ARC, you should really consider taking both the MCA Medical First Aid and Medical Care on board Ship courses – as these would prepare you to deal with situations in which help may be several days away.

I work on super-yachts, which medical course do I need?

It depends on your role on board – for most entry level crew the MCA Elementary First Aid course which is an essential component of the SCTW95 course will be required as the minimum standard.

All of the intermediate level roles on board a superyacht such as Engineers, Stewardesses, Officer of the Watch will require the 4-day MCA Medical First Aid course at a minimum. 

For managerial roles such as Chief Engineers, Chief Stewardess, Chief Mate and of course the Ship’s Master, you will need to complete the 5-day MCA Medical Care onboard Ship.

If you have any questions please don’t heistate to contact a member of the Vortec Marine team.

Vortec regularly run a number of RYA First Aid and MCA medical training courses in Port Solent (Portsmouth) this year – please see the relevant webpage or call us for more details.

Call us on 01489 854850 or Contact Us

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