Refresher Course in Medical First Aid (RMFA)

Course Topics

  • Introduction
  • Casualty handling
  • Basic Life Support
  • Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
  • CPR with Help of Second Person
  • Special Situations
  • CPR for Children and Infants
  • Use of Oxygen resuscitator
  • Airway Obstruction
  • Bleeding
  • Management of Shock
  • Actions for Accident or Illness on board
  • First Aid Kit
  • Location of first aid kits
  • Contents of lifeboat first aid kit
  • Body structure and functions
  • Structure of the human body
  • Functions of important parts and systems
  • Skeletal System
  • Muscular System
  • Cardiovascular System
  • Respiratory System
  • Nervous System
  • Digestive system and abdomen
  • Toxicological hazards aboard ship
  • Hazards of Transport of dangerous cargo
  • Use of Medical First Aid Guide
  • TWA/TLV levels
  • Poisoning
  • Acid and caustic burns
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Examination of patient
  • Observations of a casualty
  • Forming diagnosis
  • Wound Dressing
  • Disinfection of surgical instruments
  • Dressing wounds, Care of cuts, wounds, burns and scalds
  • Suturing
  • Intravenous Therapy
  • Fractures, dislocation and muscular injuries
  • Apply practical first aid procedures
  • Describes types of fracture
  • Open (or compound) Fractures
  • Closed (or simple) Fractures
  • Complicated Fracture
  • Treatment for injured parts
  • Immobilization of injured parts
  • Pelvic and spinal injuries
  • Sprains, strains and dislocations
  • Pneumatic splints
  • Spinal injuries
  • Recognise symptoms
  • Bladder control in spinal injuries
  • Complications when unconscious
  • Apply first aid measures
  • Treatment of suspected fracture of spine
  • Head injuries
  • Levels of consciousness/unconsciousness
  • Treatment and care in case of eye injury
  • Burns, scalds and effects of heat and cold
  • Burns
  • Scalds
  • Heatstroke
  • Effects of heat
  • Hypothermia
  • How Heat is Lost from the Body
  • How the Body defends itself against Cold
  • Survival in Cold Water
  • Frostbite
  • Care in case of accidents involving Dangerous Goods
  • Medical care of rescued persons, including distress, hypothermia and cold exposure
  • Treatment for Hypothermia
  • Treatment for cold injury
  • Seasickness
  • Sunburn
  • Dehydration
  • Radio Medical Advice
  • Using GMDSS
  • Helicopter evacuation
  • Pharmacology
  • Drugs on board
  • Injections IM/IV/SC
  • Test dose for penicillin
  • Drug Abuse
  • Amphetamine
  • Anabolic steroids
  • Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Inhalants
  • Marijuana
  • Morphine
  • Psychological/Psychiatric Problems
  • Stay healthy
  • Maintaining Good Health
  • Eating Disorders
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Norovirus
  • HIV / AIDS
  • Prevention of AIDS
  • About the Virus
  • HIV Life Cycle
  • HIV Transmission
  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Diagnosis
  • Treatment
  • SARS
  • Hepatitis




First Aid is the immediate and temporary basic medical care provided to an ill or injured victim, until more advanced care arrives or the person recovers. It is a life-saving medical technique that a non-medical person or a lay person can be trained to perform with minimal equipment.




Aim of First Aid


The key aim of first aid can be summarized in three key points.


Preserve life


The overriding aim of all medical care, including first aid, is to save lives.


Prevent Further Harm


To prevent the condition from worsening. This covers both external factors, such as moving a patient away from any cause of harm, and applying first aid techniques to prevent worsening of the condition, e.g. applying pressure to stop bleeding from becoming excessive and dangerous.


Promote Recovery


  • First aid also involves attempt to start the recovery process from the illness or injury, and in some cases might involve completing a treatment, such as in the case of applying a plaster to a small wound or a tourniquet to prevent bleeding or a splint to immobilize a fracture.
  • First aid training also involves the prevention of initial injury and responder safety, and the treatment phases.


First Aid encompasses DRABCD. That is:


  • Danger
  • Response
  • Airway
  • Breathing
  • Compressions/Circulation
  • Defibrillation


IMGS (International Medical Guide for Ships)


All ships should carry medical instruments, a medical chest and a copy of medical guide, as required by the International Labour Organisation's Maritime Labour Convention 2006.


The International Medical Guide for Ships gives guidelines on how to diagnose, treat and prevent health problems in seafarers, mainly focusing on the first 48 hours after injury.


In addition to giving guidelines to diagnose and treat a patient onboard, the Medical Guide also gives guidelines on preventing various health problems those may be faced by the seafarers. Illustrations in the book make it easier for the medical officer onboard to get the information for treatment.


It covers from simple injury to many types of diseases, pregnancy, child birth, death and caring of rescued persons


It endeavours to give the seafarer the treatment and health protection that is available ashore.


World Health Organisation 2007


According to the specifications of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention 2006, all ships must have a medicine chest, medical kit and medical guidelines. The main principles of International Medical Guide for Ships are to make sure that:

  • The mariners are given proper health protection and medical care.
  • The mariners are given necessary medicines without any delay.
  • Medical equipment and facilities for analysing and for doing treatment are available.


The ILO Maritime Labour Convention states that ships engaged on international journey for duration of more than three days and having 100 persons or more must have a well-qualified medical doctor to provide medical care. Ships without a medical doctor can have any of the following:

  • At least one mariner on board taking charge of all the medical care and administering medicine as part of their usual duties 
  • At least one mariner skilled in providing medical first aid on board.


Mariners who are not medical doctors but take in-charge of medical care on board must have finished training in medical care meeting all the needs of the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watch keeping for Seafarers. The International Medical Guide for Ships acts as a standard guide for such training courses. The ILO Maritime Labour Convention 2006 specifies that the skilled authority must make sure that the medical advice given (via radio and satellites) to ships travelling in sea is available for 24 hours a day. 


IMGS explains when it is necessary to seek such medical advice. By having IMGS on board ships and following the given instructions, the countries can do the following:

  • Fulfil their responsibilities under the sections of the Maritime Labour Convention 2006
  • Make sure the finest possible health outcomes for their maritime population. 


IMGS (International Medical Guide for ships) contains the following:


  • First aid treatment
  • Shock
  • Pain management
  • Head injuries
  • Eye injuries and illness
  • Injuries in bone, joint, and muscle 
  • Injuries in abdominal and chest 
  • Wounds
  • Burns, chemical splashes, smoke inhalation, and electrocution
  • Heat disorders like heat stroke
  • Poisoning
  • Examination of the sick person
  • Paralysis, weird behaviour and unconsciousness
  • Heart disorders like chest pain, circulation problem etc
  • Respiratory problems
  • Gastrointestinal and liver illness
  • Kidney disorders and other urinary infections
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Infections transmitted by sexually activities
  • Skin diseases
  • Disorders in bone, joint and muscle
  • Usage of tobacco, alcohol and drugs
  • Transmittable diseases
  • Dental problems
  • External aid
  • Nursing care and medical actions
  • Fatality at sea
  • Medical care for mariners at sea
  • Environmental control and cleanliness
  • Preventing illness and promoting health in mariners
  • Anatomy and physiology
  • International Health Regulations (abbreviated as IHR)
  • Medicine chest of ship
  • Annex A: Forms for case reporting, referral and clearance