First aid instructors 

The first aid course is one of the RYA's specialist one-day courses. In order to teach it you must qualify as an RYA first aid instructor.

Length of course: 1 day organised regionally.


  • The full three day First Aid at Work Certficate, an equivalent or preferably higher qualification. Once qualified, an advanced first aid certificate must be kept in-date to continue instructing, First Aid at Work is the minimum acceptable level. An RYA, or any other one day first aid course, will not be accepted.
  • A Marine Radio SRC Certificate
  • An RYA instructor certificate in another field, preferably practical.
  • An appreciation of the restrictions of first aid in the marine environment.
  • Recent, relevant boating experience is essential.
  • Awareness of current first aid practices shown in the latest edition of the St Johns/St Andrews/Red Cross First Aid Manual.
  • Membership of the RYA (or the National Governing Body for your boating activity in your country of residence).


  • An RYA Sea Survival certificate
  • Certificated training in the use of an AED

Exemption for medical professionals:

Doctors and nurses with recent appropriate acute experience, and paramedics are exempt from the need for a first aid qualification, but attending an RYA First Aid Course before coming on the Instructor's course is highly recommended. Once retired and no longer practising, a First Aid Certificate will be required after three years.


Due to the short time available on this course, there is limited opportunity to develop a candidate's teaching technique or to fill any gaps in knowledge. As such, this course is a blend of assessing the candidate's knowledge, instructing ability and ensuring the structure and standard required of the course is understood. Candidates must therefore ensure they have sufficient underpinning knowledge prior to attending.

An effective instructor must have credibility with students, a genuine interest and engagement with the subject is essential for this. Questions from students will often stray outside the core syllabus or be concerned with seeking advice about equipment or situations. Without enthusiasm and a depth of knowledge far about the RYA syllabus, this credibility could easily be lost. It is difficult to quantify in writing exactly what this means but without extensive practical experience of the subject, candidates are unlikely to be successful on this Instructor course.

The RYA has a first aid adviser who organises instructor training and helps with any queries you may have.  You can contact her here.

RYA First Aid instructor course dates

RYA First Aid Instructor course application form

RYA First Aid course syllabus


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Article Published: May 19, 2009 13:31

Article Updated: November 30, 2015 12:31


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