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RYA First Aid

RYA First Aid: Essential Skills for UK Boaters

Recreational powerboating is a very popular activity in the UK, offering individuals the opportunity to explore picturesque coastlines, navigate rivers, and enjoy the thrill of being on the water. While boating can be an exhilarating experience, it’s essential to prioritise safety at all times. Accidents and emergencies can happen, and being equipped with the necessary first aid skills can make a significant difference in ensuring the well-being of yourself and others. The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) and Duck-2-Water offer a comprehensive First Aid course tailored specifically for UK boaters. In this blog post, we will explore essential skills that RYA First Aid training provides, enabling boaters to respond effectively in emergencies.

Essential skills that RYA First Aid training provides

Assessing the Situation:

One of the fundamental skills taught in RYA First Aid training is the ability to assess the situation quickly and accurately. Powerboaters learn to evaluate the severity of injuries or illnesses and determine the appropriate course of action. This skill is essential in prioritising care and ensuring that urgent medical attention is sought when necessary.

CPR and AED Usage:

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a life-saving technique used to revive individuals who have experienced cardiac arrest. RYA First Aid training teaches boaters how to perform CPR effectively, including chest compressions and rescue breaths. Additionally, participants learn how to use automated external defibrillators (AEDs), which can greatly increase the chances of survival in cardiac emergencies.

Managing Bleeding and Wounds:

In boating environments, injuries that involve bleeding are not uncommon. RYA First Aid training equips boaters with the skills to manage to bleed effectively. Participants learn how to apply direct pressure, elevate the wound, and use appropriate dressings or bandages to control bleeding and minimise the risk of infection.

Handling Fractures and Sprains:

Fractures and sprains can occur due to slips, falls, or collisions on a boat. RYA First Aid training provides powerboaters and skippers with the knowledge to recognise and manage these injuries. Participants learn how to immobilise fractures, apply splints, and provide support for sprains to minimise further damage and alleviate pain.

Dealing with Hypothermia and Cold Water Shock:

Being out on open water for long periods such as Southampton Water, River Hamble and the Solent  presents unique challenges, including the risk of hypothermia and cold water shock. RYA First Aid training educates boaters on the signs and symptoms of these conditions and provides techniques to manage them effectively. Participants learn how to stabilise individuals, prevent further heat loss, and gradually rewarm hypothermic casualties.

Recognizing and Managing Seasickness:

Seasickness is a common ailment experienced by boaters, particularly those new to the activity. RYA First Aid training teaches individuals how to identify the signs of seasickness and offers strategies for managing the symptoms. This knowledge can help alleviate discomfort and enable individuals to continue enjoying their time on the water.

Understanding Drowning and Near-Drowning:

Water-related accidents can lead to drowning or near-drowning incidents. RYA First Aid training provides boaters with insights into these incidents, including the signs of drowning and the necessary actions to take in rescue situations. By understanding how to recognise and respond to these emergencies, boaters can improve the chances of successful outcomes.

Managing Medical Emergencies:

In addition to injuries, you may encounter various medical emergencies while on the water. RYA First Aid training covers a range of medical conditions, including heart attacks, strokes, seizures, and allergic reactions. Participants learn to recognise the signs and symptoms of these emergencies and provide appropriate first-aid care until professional medical help arrives.

Utilising First Aid Equipment:

RYA First Aid training familiarises boaters with the use of first aid equipment commonly found on boats. Participants learn how to effectively use first aid kits, dressings, bandages, and other essential supplies. Understanding how to locate and use these resources in an emergency can significantly enhance response capabilities.

Effective Communication and Reporting:

During an emergency, clear and concise communication is vital. RYA First Aid training emphasises effective communication techniques, including how to relay information to emergency services or other boaters. Proper reporting procedures are also covered, ensuring that incidents are documented accurately and necessary follow-up actions are taken.

Also Read: Expert First Aid Skills for London Sailors: RYA’s Accredited Training Program


RYA First Aid training equips UK powerboaters with essential skills that are crucial for responding effectively to emergencies on the water. By learning to assess situations, perform CPR, manage bleeding and fractures, handle cold water-related conditions, recognize and manage seasickness, understand drowning incidents, handle medical emergencies, utilise first aid equipment, and communicate effectively, boaters can significantly enhance safety levels and promote well-being within the boating community. Duck-2-Water is a renowned training centre in the UK that specialises in providing comprehensive powerboating and water safety courses. With a strong focus on RYA training, including RYA First Aid, Duck-2-Water has established itself as a trusted provider of essential skills. 

Duck-2-Water’s RYA First Aid courses are designed to meet the specific needs of recreational sailors and powerboat operators . The training centre offers a range of course options to cater to different levels of experience and requirements, located at the heart of the Solent in Ocean Village Marina, Southampton