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RYA reveals latest first aid advisory for yacht crew

6 October 2023

The RYA has updated its latest guidance on preparing first aid at sea, a vital skill that every seafarer should seek to acquire at any stage of their career.


First aid can become vital in an unexpected situation either on land or onboard a vessel out at sea. This can also be the case in circumstances where another ship may be in distress. Crew members and guests can become unwell despite good sea conditions and first aid can help to manage minor to major incidents. Proper first aid can also prevent medical emergencies in the case of injuries and other unforeseen circumstances.


“Most first aid on a boat requires nothing more than people do every day looking after their family. But accidents do happen and knowing what to do first can be very important. This is where some first aid knowledge can help,” said RYA National First Aid Advisor and Yachtmaster Examiner, Sara Hopkinson.


Among Sara’s top tips for staying safe at sea include:




  • Having both land and sea first aid knowledge to learn how to adapt to situations such as head injuries, water shock, hypothermia and drowning.

  • Packing a first aid kit and having the correct items from bandages to pain relief and motion sickness tablets.

  • Calling for help in an emergency with a handheld VHF radio for out-of-range areas.

  • Being aware of cold-water shock and how to manage an emergency situation.

  • Taking action in an emergency situation when it is better to do something rather than observe.

  • The impact first aid can have in saving lives and providing care to people suffering at sea where there is no immediate access to medical facilities.



To learn more about first aid, explore the RYA’s guidance that goes more in-depth on the topic and how seafarers can best prepare.

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