First Aid for RYA Commercial Endorsements

First Aid for RYA Commercial Endorsements

  • RYA Yachtmaster Coastal
  • RYA Yachtmaster Offshore
  • RYA Advanced Powerboat


The default first aid training required for those holding any RYA
instructor qualifications or commercial endorsements is the RYA First
Aid course.

This course is widely available and designed for the specific
demands of providing first aid afloat.

It is also accepted by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) for use on board small commercial vessels and by World Sailing for compliance with the Offshore Special Regulations, and covers the requirements of the Health and Safety regulations for the purposes of emergency first aid at work training.

It is recognised that it is not always possible to access an RYA training
centre which delivers the RYA First Aid course, and there are also
many situations where an individual is required to hold a different first
aid qualification by their employer due to the nature of their work or due
to other legal requirements.

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) no longer approves first
aid at work qualifications and now empowers employers to select an
appropriate first aid course for their particular circumstances. It should
be noted that neither the HSE nor the MCA recognise online first aid
training courses, so training must therefore be carried out face-to-face.

When delivering practical training through an RYA Recognised Training
Centre (RTC) the duty of care owed to those under our care requires a
certain amount of first aid support.

The RYA conditions of recognition require all instructors to have a current first aid certificate. The individual instructors and centre principals have a duty to ensure an appropriate first aid qualification continues to be held to ensure the
instructor award remains valid. Training centres also have a duty to
comply with local employment and public safety regulations such as the
UK’s Health and Safety at Work or similar regulations covering first aid
requirements in other countries.

First Aid requirements for RYA Certificates

Issued December 2017. Information correct at time of publication

RYA practical instructors (excluding Advanced Powerboat, Cruising and Yachtmaster Instructors)

For the purposes of RYA practical instructor qualifications other than Advanced Powerboat, Cruising and Yachtmaster Instructor endorsements, the RYA has opted to match the UK’s HSE’s practice in allowing RTCs and instructors to use alternative first aid qualifications, providing the course meets the minimum requirements given at the end of this guidance. On RYA Instructor courses the Coach / Trainer will verify that an in date first aid certificate is held.

Commercial endorsement applicants

On vessels certified under the UK’s Small Commercial Vessel Codes of Practice up to category 2 area of operation the minimum first aid qualification required is the RYA First Aid, STCW Elementary First Aid or Sea Fish first aid. If an individual is responsible for the first aid on board the first aid course must cover the use of Category C medical stores as detailed in MSN 1768 (M+F).

The RYA First Aid course is the preferred option as the use of Category C medical stores forms part of the syllabus.

Applications for new or renewed commercial endorsements will be asked to sign a declaration confirming that they understand their responsibility with regard to maintaining valid medical fitness, first aid and radio operator’s certificates and that they may need higher level certification subject to the nature of the vessel on which they work.

RYA Cruising Instructors, Yachtmaster Instructors, Powerboat Advanced Instructors

Cruising and Yachtmaster Instructors and Advanced Powerboat instructors teaching the Advanced Powerboat course should hold a valid commercial endorsement and therefore comply with the requirements detailed in the commercial endorsement section above. Advanced Powerboat Instructors who don’t hold a commercial endorsement may only teach up to the Intermediate course.

RTC Principals and Chief Instructors must ensure all instructors teaching Cruising and Advanced Powerboat courses hold an appropropriate first aid certificate.

Centre Inspections
Centre inspectors will continue to verify that each centre records their instructors’ certificates, including expiry dates of first aid certificates. Each centre must ensure that suitable first aid certificates are held for the
regulations governing their operation. The RYA centre inspection process cannot verify this compliance and does not infer acceptance of any certificate as complying with HSE, MCA or other national authority requirements.

RYA Exam candidates

Candidates for the Advanced Powerboat, Yachtmaster Coastal or Offshore exams must present a first aid certificate which meets the minimum requirements set out at the end of this guidance. The notes to candidates will indicate that should they intend to work commercially that they will need to verify that their first aid certificate satisfies the regulations covering the vessels on which they work.