Wilderness First Aid Afloat

This two to three 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.

Wilderness First Aid Afloat - WFAA
Wilderness First Aid Afloat

Why Take Wilderness First Aid Afloat?

Canoe Kayak BoatTime 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.

U.S. Coast Guard Approved Course

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.

U.S. Coast Guard Logo


Course Length:
18–22 hours of instruction
Actual course length may vary, and incorporates hands-on scenarios, skills practice & activities.
Course Format:
Typically taught over two consecutive full days.
This course may also be taught over three consecutive days and weekdays upon request.
Course Tuition:
$270 – $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 ACA and US Coast Guard approved.

– Be at least 14 years of age.

– Current adult + pediatric CPR/AED certification is NOT required, but is strongly recommended.

– Complete the waiver & medical forms prior to class.**

Access to these forms is granted once enrollment is complete.

Recommended For:
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.

The 25-hour Wilderness First Aid Afloat course includes many advanced topics that other programs leave out such as reduction of dislocations and epinephrine administration. A sample list of topics covered in this course include (but are not limited to):


Airway Emergencies Life-Threatening Conditions
Allergies + Anaphylaxis Lightning Safety
Anatomy + Physiology North American Snakebites
Backcountry + Sudden Illnesses Orthopedic Injuries + Dislocations
Bites + Stings Patient Assessment System
Body Substnce Isolation Patient Care Documentation
Burns + Blisters Risk Management
Chest Injuries Scene Leadership + Control
Cold Related Injuries Shock + ASR
Common OTC Medications Soft Tissue Injuries
CPR in Remote Settings Submersion Emergencies
Epinephrine Auto-Injectors Suspected Spinal Injuries
Evacuation Considerations Tick Safety
Hands-On Practical Simulations Traumatic Brain Injuries
Heat Related Illnesses Venomous Spider Bites
Improvisation / MacGyvering Vital Signs
Introduction to Wilderness Medicine Wilderness First Aid Kits


Valid for two years, our Wilderness First Aid Afloat certification is nationally-recognized by the US Coast Guard, American Canoe Association, American Camp Association, Boy Scouts of America (BSA), JCC and many other organizations across the United States and Canada. The certificate earned by taking this course is accepted by Philmont Scout Ranch, Northern Tier, Florida Sea Base, Bechtel Summit, and all other Scouting programs.


Currently, your Wilderness First Aid Afloat certification can only be renewed by taking another Wilderness First Aid Afloat course. Because wilderness medicine is constantly changing as science and medical research make greater and greater strides, there is no “refresher” course for Wilderness First Aid.


Center for Wilderness Safety’s Wilderness First Aid Afloat course curriculum changes every several years, as new and improved techniques and science move forward to offer better ways of providing patient care.

Find a Course Near You        Sponsor a Wilderness Medicine Course at Your Location


If your group or organization is interested in sponsoring a Wilderness First Aid Afloat course at your location, simply click the link above.

Wilderness First Aid Afloat