Wilderness First Aid Afloat (WFAA)
Wilderness First Aid Afloat - WFAA

This two and a half day Wilderness First Aid Afloat course teaches participants the assessment of, and treatment given to an ill or injured person in a remote and often times, cold, wet environment. In this type of setting, access to definitive care such as a hospital or clinic, as well as emergency transport may delayed for hours or even days. Course participants will learn how to assess, treat, and when possible, prevent medical and traumatic emergencies within the scope of their training – pertaining most specifically to water-related emergencies.

Why Take Wilderness First Aid Afloat?

Time is the essential element distinguishing wilderness first aid from standard first aid. When calling 911 is not an immediate option, or when help could be an hour or even days away, the task of managing the injured and the ill will challenge you beyond basic first-aid knowledge, and require the skills you will learn in this course.

Long hikes, extended lengths of rivers, large expanses of ocean, and miles of asphalt may separate the patient from a medical facility. You may have to endure heat or cold, rain, wind, or darkness.

The equipment needed for treatment and evacuation may have to be improvised from what’s available, and communication with the “outside world” may be limited—or even nonexistent. Remote locations and harsh environments may require creative treatments. All of this comes into play being a wilderness first aider on the water.


Center for Wilderness Safety’s Wilderness First Aid (CWSINC-314), Wilderness First Aid Afloat (CWSINC-315), and Wilderness First Responder (CWSINC-316) are U.S. Coast Guard approved to satisfy First Aid and CPR training requirements of 46 CFR 11.201(i)(1) for merchant marine licenses.

What To Expect

This course is an intensive course which offers a lot of hands-on practice through scenarios, case studies and simulations. Students will constantly be both indoors and outdoors for simulations and practice, regardless of the weather, barring severe inclement weather. Come to class prepared for the weather, as we spend a lot of time outdoors training.

Course Length:

25 hours of instruction.

Actual course may be longer, incorporating hands-on scenarios, skills practice & activities.


Course Format:

WFA Afloat is typically taught over two consecutive days (typically a weekend; 8am to 7pm, both days).

This course may also be taught over three full consecutive days and/or during regular weekdays upon request.


Course Tuition:

$235 – $299

Actual course tuition may vary depending on course location, logistics, etc.



Wilderness First Aid Afloat (valid 2 years)

A digital certificate is available upon successful completion of course.
This certification is accepted by the BSA and is ACA approved.



CWS requires all Wilderness First Aid Afloat participants to:

  •     • Be at least 14 years of age.*

  •     • Current Adult + Pediatric CPR/AED certification is NOT required, but is strongly recommended.

  •     • Complete the two required forms (waiver & medical forms) prior to class.**

* The minimum age requirement to take Wilderness First Aid Afloat is 14 by the last day of the course, however younger participants may be allowed to take the course on a case-by-case basis.
** All Prerequisites MUST be completed at least 48 Hours prior to your course start date (if a course starts on Saturday, they are due the Thursday before at Midnight). Failure to do so will result in not being permitted to attend the course with no refunds. NOTE: Access to these forms is granted once enrollment is complete.



This introductory wilderness medicine course is recommended for anyone who spends time on the water; whether it be boating, paddleboarding, kayaking, or even snorkeling! It is strongly recommended for anyone who spends any amount of time in the great outdoors, including “weekend warriors” Scouting and youth program leaders, teachers leading school trips, backcountry guides, canoe & rafting trip guides, private expedition groups, college/university outdoor education programs, hiking club trip leaders, wilderness therapeutic programs, and adventure race safety personnel.