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FAQ’s: MCA/STCW Proficiency in Medical Care Course

What will you get out of the Proficiency in Medical Care course?

This is a five day course that will make you an expert First Aider with the ability to tackle medical emergencies at sea, as necessary on the telephone or ship‘s radio to a physician ashore.

It will significantly improve your chances of being employed on a super yacht, but should also be considered if you are a yachtsman planning a longer trip – perhaps across the Atlantic or Pacific. 

The course should not be confused with the Proficiency in Medical First Aid, which you should have as a minimum before doing this course.

How much does it cost?

Expect to pay around £500 (approx. US $780, or 705 EUROS) depending on where and when you do the course.

What are your limits on passing this course?

You will be able to deal with and stabilise many medical emergencies at sea, as necessary with the expert advice of a doctor ashore. It is only valid for 5 years so requires renewal and re training in that period. 

Is the MCA Proficiency Medical Care theory based, practical or both?

The course covers a lot of theory with practical instruction.

Where can you take it?

You can only take the MCA version of this course in the UK and its territories, meaning that you cannot take it in another country.

What level of experience do you need before taking it?


How long does the Proficiency in Medical Care course take?

Duration; Five days from beginning of tuition to the completion of the exam. 

What does it involve?

The course is designed to enable you to diagnose medical problems and provide medical care to the sick and injured aboard ship. Over the five days you will cover:

  • Communication
  • Making a Diagnosis
  • The Cardio Vascular & Respiratory Systems
  • The Abdomen
  • Ear, Nose & Throat (ENT)
  • Dental & Ophthalmic
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Wounds & Injuries
  • Medication
  • Equipment & Information
  • General & Specific Patient Management

Though you will not be a doctor you should be able to support and stabilise someone until you can get help by helicopter, lifeboat or when your vessel gets into port.  As such this is a very valuable certificate to have for yourself and your fellow crew / passengers.

How do you progress after completing the course?

By passing this course you can become a ship’s Medical Officer.

Do they give you international accreditation?

Yes – the certification is UK government approved and thereby accepted by the International Maritime Organisation and all its member countries.

Further Resources;

Have a look at this MCA PDF for details as to what the MCA/STCW Proficiency in Medical Care course entails, or take a look at the full syllabus here.

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