Why First Aid Training Is Such An Essential Part Of Learning To Sail

Posted on August 13, 2014 by Lee under Boating, First Aid, Sailing Comments Off on Why First Aid Training Is Such An Essential Part Of Learning To Sail

For any budding sailor, there are numerous skills which need to be acquired. Aside from the practical knowledge of how to sail specific vessels, those who take to the water must also be trained in first aid.

Here we look at just why first aid training is so important when learning to sail:

Why do sailors need first aid training?

Sailors need first aid training for obvious reasons – to protect themselves and any passengers from accident or injury whilst out on the water. All sailing vessels and environments pose significant threats to those on board and failure to prepare for and address these threats can lead to disastrous results.

By learning basic first aid, sailors can treat injuries that occur whilst out on the water. In this environment, professional medical help can often be a long way away and delaying treatment could exacerbate certain conditions.

By being able to provide first-response treatment for injuries, those learning to sail could improve their chances of being able to return to the shore safely.

sailor getting first aid

What sort of accidents and injuries can affect sailors?

Sailors face a number of risks when sailing in any type of waterway – whether it be a river, ocean or canal. First aid training can explain what to do to treat injuries caused in a number of different scenarios, with common health risks, accidents and injuries caused by:

  • Cold water: can cause difficulty breathing and moving limbs in the event of capsizing
  • Weather: can change rapidly and damage boats or cause capsizing
  • Currents: can drag sailors out to see or underwater
  • Boating equipment: can cause accidental injury such as from knifes and sharp objects, and broken bones, strains and sprains from trips and falls caused by ropes, sails or nets
  • Poor training: can lead to serious injury through misuse of equipment or poor sailing

The sort of injuries sustained from these scenarios can vary from the mild to the severe. In worst case scenarios, drowning can occur but even broken bones, cuts and lacerations can cause serious health problems if they are not treated quickly.

Poor training is undoubtedly one of the biggest risks as without sufficient knowledge of how to stay safe on the water, sailors could end up placing themselves at unnecessary risk.

Cuts, broken bones and other injuries can all be caused through poor sailing practice and can ultimately impair a sailor’s ability to manage the boating conditions, but other dangers such as unconsciousness – which can be caused from dehydration or powerful blows to the head from unsecured equipment – also need to be addressed.

It is also important to remember that even the most experienced sailors can be caught out from time to time – and that is why it is important for all boat enthusiasts to prepare for every eventuality with sufficient training. Olympic sailing champion Andrew Simpson is a particularly high-profile case that demonstrates this to great effect – dying in a boating accident during training just a few months ago.

What first aid training courses are available for those learning to sail?

For those interested in learning to sail, there are numerous first aid courses to help you learn the ropes. These combine with theoretical and practical courses which teach you the basic skills of sailing and ensure that you’re able to stay as safe as possible on the water.

Bodies such as The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) offer a great range of courses that might be worth looking at, but you can also find more information on boating safety and courses for those learning to sail on our blog.

Image Credit: http://solentseakayaking.co.uk/


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