Chapter 3 – Marine Basic First Aid

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3.1 Number of Trainees in a Course

The number of trainees in a course must not exceed 18, under the supervision of one accredited instructor.

3.2 Course Goal

Every seafarer who is designated to apply immediate basic first aid in the event of an accident or illness on board a vessel must demonstrate competence to undertake the tasks, duties and responsibilities described in the subjects listed below.

3.3 Course Criteria

Marine Basic First Aid is required by:

  1. Any person who wants to obtain a rating certificate or endorsement or who wants to obtain a Master or Chief Mate Limited certificate;
  2. The person designated to provide first aid on board a vessel engaged on a near coastal voyage, class 2 or sheltered waters voyage.

3.4 Main Instructor Qualification

  1. The approved main instructor must be:
    1. an experienced emergency professional;
    2. an approved instructor certified by an approved agency.

3.5 Course Outline

Course Outline Time (hours)
Subjects Lectures, demonstrations and practical work
1. General Principles 1.0
2. Body Structure and Functions 2.0
3. Positioning of Casualty 1.5
4. The Unconscious Casualty 1.0
5. Resuscitation 2.0
6. Bleeding 1.5
7. Management of Shock 1.0
8. Burns and Scalds, and Accidents Caused by Electricity 1.0
9. Rescue and Transport of Casualty 1.5
10. Other Topics 2.5
11. Assessment 1.0
TOTAL 16.0

Note: Teaching staff should note that outlines are suggestions only as regards sequence and length of time allocated to each objective. These factors may be adapted by lecturers to suit individual groups of trainees depending on their experience, ability, equipment and staff available for training.

3.6 Knowledge and Competencies

  1. Methods of demonstrating the competence are by assessment of evidence obtained from practical instruction, lectures, tests, demonstrations and practical instruction.
Competence Knowledge, Understanding and Proficiency Criteria for Evaluating Competence
1. General principles (1 hr) Assessment of Needs of Casualties
  1. The manner and timing of raising the alarm is appropriate to the circumstances of the accident or medical emergency; demonstrate how to raise the alarm.
  2. State that in emergency first consideration is for own safety; risk of further harm to self and casualty is minimized at all times.
  3. The identification of probable cause, nature and extent of injuries is prompt and complete and the priority and sequence of actions is proportional to any potential threat to life.
  4. Describe the sequence of immediate measures to be taken in cases of emergency:
    • apply the principles of first aid- apply the principles of emergency scene management
    • examine and assess a casualty
    • provide follow-up care
    • apply the principles of safety universal precautions
  5. State the content of an emergency checklist as:
    • assessment of the accident situation
    • assessment of own hazards to self
    • unconsciousness
    • respiratory arrest
    • cardiac arrest
    • severe bleeding
    • rescue of casualty and notification
  6. Ensure that treatment of injuries and the patient’s condition conforms to recognized first aid practice and national and international regulations.
Trainees must be able to assess needs of casualties and threats to own safety and take immediate action upon encountering an accident or other emergency.
2. Appreciation of Body structure and Functions (2 hrs) Knowledge of the anatomy and functions of the organism
  1. Describe body structure in terms of:
    • skeleton, identify and name principal bones
    • joints, muscles and tendons, identify regions of the body
    • major organs, identify main organs of the chest and the functions of each (brain, heart, lungs, etc.)
    • Identify parts of the nervous system
    • Identify parts of the respiratory system
    • Identify parts of the circulatory system
  2. State in simple words the functions of the parts forming the body structure.
Trainees must be able to appreciate the body structure and functions.
3. Positioning of Casualty (1.5 hrs)
  1. Describe body structure in terms of:
    • skeleton, identify and name principal bones
    • joints, muscles and tendons, identify regions of the body
    • major organs, identify main organs of the chest and the functions of each (brain, heart, lungs, etc.)
    • Identify parts of the nervous system
    • Identify parts of the respiratory system
    • Identify parts of the circulatory system
  2. State in simple words the functions of the parts forming the body structure.
Trainees must be able to describe the correct procedure for positioning casualties.
4. The Unconscious Casualty (1.0 hr)
  1. Recognize the signs and hazards of unconsciousness
    • recognize respiratory emergencies
  2. Apply appropriate measures, including:
    • keeping air passages clear- positioning of an unconscious casualty
    • action in the case of respiratory or cardiac arrest
    • no food, liquid or other substances by mouth
Trainees must be able to recognize the signs and hazards of unconsciousness and respiratory emergencies.
5. Resuscitation Techniques (2 hrs)
  1. In case of respiratory / cardiac arrest state the methods and limiting factors of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  2. Recognize the sign of choking and understand the measures to take to avoid chocking
    • mild
    • severe
  3. Provide first aid for a choking adult:
    • conscious casualty
    • conscious casualty who becomes unconscious
    • casualty found unconscious
Trainees must be able to recognize the necessity of immediate resuscitation in appropriate emergency situations.
6. Control Bleeding (1.5 hrs)
  1. Recognize the hazards of bleeding
  2. Apply appropriate basic measures to limit bleeding, in particular:
    • recognize internal and external bleeding
    • use dressings, bandages and slings in first aid procedures
    • application of external pad and pressure to site
    • take measures to prevent further contamination and infection of wounds
    • control bleeding from wounds, nose, ear, scalp, tongue and cheek
    • provide first aid for internal bleeding
    • positioning of patient
    • discuss application and dangers of a tourniquet
Trainees must be able to control bleeding and use dressings, bandages and slings in first aid procedures.
7. Management of shock (1 hr)
  1. State the main factors causing shock
  2. Recognize the signs of shock as:
    • skin colour and temperature
    • rate of pulse and respiration
  3. Apply the appropriate measures of basic shock management
    • provide first aid to lessen the severity of shock
    • recognize fainting- recognize levels of consciousness
    • provide first aid for fainting and unconsciousness
  4. State the essential measures of shock management as:
    • stopping of bleeding
    • protection from cooling
    • early intake of ample fluids if the patient is conscious
    • positioning of the patient
    • no smoking- no alcohol
Trainees must be able to apply appropriate measures of basic shock management.
8. Burns and Scalds and Accidents Caused by Electricity (1 hr) Apply appropriate measures in event of burns and scalds, and of accidents caused by electric current, chemical substances and radiation burns:
  1. Recognize burns of:
    • partial thickness burn
    • full thickness burn
  2. Recognize the signs of burns and scalds and of accidents caused by electric current.
  3. Apply the appropriate measures for burns and scalds:
    • assess extent of burned area
    • cooling of the area as quickly as possible
    • provide first aid for burns
  4. Apply the appropriate measures for chemical burns:
    • removal of clothes
    • rinsing with ample water
  5. Apply appropriate measures for chemical burns of eyes:
    • rinsing of eyes with ample water
  6. Apply the appropriate measures for accidents caused by electric current:
    • noting hazards to rescuers
    • isolation of the casualty
    • assess vital signs
Trainees must be able to apply appropriate measures in event of heat, electric, chemical and radiation burns.
9. Rescue and transport of casualty (1.5 hrs)
  1. Apply appropriate transportation alone and with the assistance of a further person, taking into account the confined spaces and varying heights on board ship;
    • recognize the principles of safety
    • move the casualty away from immediate hazards
  2. Identify and use;
    • temporary and ad hoc aids for transport
    • stretcher transport
    • transport on a chair
  3. Recognize the hazards of transporting a patient with injury of pelvis and/or spine and demonstrate the correct procedures for the transport of such casualties.
Trainees must be able to rescue and transport a casualty.
10. Other Topics (2.5 hrs)
  1. Improvise bandages and use materials in First Aid kit:
    • awareness of the location of first aid kits and knowledge of its contents
    • improvise bandages by means available
    • ability to use correctly and quickly materials in first aid kit
    • demonstrate the correct use of bandages
    • recognize readily available items and materials that might be appropriately used as bandages
  2. Enclosed spaces:
    • recognize the dangers when making entry
    • state that the internal atmosphere may contain dangerous gases or lack sufficient oxygen
    • take all necessary and appropriate precautions
  3. Infectious diseases:
    • recognize the dangers from blood and other excretion from persons suffering from infectious diseases, particularly hepatitis, and from HIV-positive persons
    • take all necessary precautions for self protection when dealing with such cases
    • describe the correct procedures for disposing of blood and other excretions in such cases
  4. Personal health and hygiene:
    • apply simple rules for maintaining health and personal cleanliness.
Trainees must be able to apply appropriate measures in other topics.

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