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Southern Spars - North Technology

CYCA Medical Management for Mariners 8th May, 2011

by John Keelty/ Sail-World Cruising on 31 Mar 2012
MMM - would you know how to treat your injured fellow-crew? SW
With the support of Sydney's Cruising Yacht Club of Australia 'Safety of Life at Sea Trusts' (CYCA SOLAS Trusts), the CYCA Medical Management for Mariners Course was launched in 2010 and is a specialist course that has been designed for sailors to manage medical emergencies when paramedic and medical assistance is not at hand.

It aims to provide sailors and others with vital additional skills and knowledge to assist them in assessing and providing immediate and longer term management for casualties and illness in the marine environment.


During the course, with lectures spread over a two week period, St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney aims to teach those who go to sea in small craft, especially yachts, how to deal with a medical emergency should it arise when professional medical assistance may be hours or even days away.

The CYCA Medical Management for Mariners Course (MMM) consists of 7 three-hour nights at St. Vincent's Hospital in the Don Harrison Simulation centre followed by a 3-hour practical session taught by Helicopter Rescue Paramedics on board a yacht at the CYCA. During the course, participants are shown how to treat and stabilise a patient and prepare and package the injured person for rescue by helicopter or any other means of rescue that becomes available.

This course has been designed specifically for sailors by sailors and is a unique course that will assist sailors cope with most emergencies and long term management should the need arise

A large amount of research was carried out on accidents that have occurred at sea in various yachts and other craft during events such as the Rolex Sydney Hobart and Volvo Ocean Races and the course covers all of these incidents including broken bones, severed arteries, boom strikes, amputations, burns, heart attacks, strokes, near drowning and the like. It even covers catherisation and how to rehydrate a totally seasick person in order to prevent them from dying of dehydration and how to correctly calculate draw up and give an injection.

The course is carried out in St Vincent’s Hospital Don Harrison Simulation Centre where participants use the Sim Man, a mannequin that can be programmed to simulate any accident or medical situation. He breathes, he bleeds, he has a pulse, talks and in fact does almost anything a normal person can do.

The curriculum includes theory and practical application of this theory. On most nights a practical scenario takes place and the participants are faced with situations such as: 'You are half way to New Zealand and there is a loud bang, the yacht gives a lurch and the crew below go up on the deck to find one of the crew partially conscious and bleeding from a head wound'.

They are required to assess and stabilise the victim, communicate by radio in medical terminology and hopefully keep the victim alive and safe until assistance can be received and as they are a long way from land that could be two to three days away.

The course aims to cover most medical emergencies that can occur including heart attacks, strokes, burns, catherisation, hypothermia and envenomation. This will assist all who go to sea from the competitive ocean racer to the husband and wife team who wish to just go cruising or even circumnavigate the globe.

This is a course not to be missed by any serious ocean racer or anyone setting out on a longer voyage. It requires each applicant to have a current Senior First Aid Certificate in order to enroll.

The next course commences on Tuesday 8 May, 2012 – Go to the http://www.cyca.com.au/editorial.asp?key=4423!website for further details, or contact reception at the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on 02 8292 7800 or reception@cyca.com.au

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