RYA Basic Sea Survival – PST


Use of liferafts and associated safety and distress equipment. Survival techniques both in the liferafts and the water. Search and Rescue operations.
The RYA Sea Survival course is designed for all small craft users. The importance of having the knowledge to survive if you end up in an emergency situation at sea is crucial. It is a well proven fact that people with appropriate training are more likely to survive. Liferafts, the equipment they contain and survival techniques form the central part of the RYA Sea Survival course. You will be taught about how to launch rafts, what the initial and subsequent actions in a raft are and receive some sound advice on longer term survival. Other topics covered include the design of lifejackets, hypothermia and Search and Rescue techniques.
The RYA Sea Survival course includes a two-hour practical session in a pool and students are encouraged to bring along their own wet weather gear and lifejacket in order to experience first-hand the problems of entering and assisting the entrance of others, into an inflated and uncooperative liferafts whilst fully kitted out. This is a really hands on course that is taught by one of the Royal Navy’s senior Sea Survival instructors.
This qualification is an essential part of the RYA/ISAF Offshore Safety Course and is also required for those seeking commercial endorsements on a Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster Certificate of Competence qualification.




1. Preparation for sea survival

  • Survival difficulties
  • Survival requirements
  • Equipment available
  • Actions prior to abandonment

2. Lifejackets and liferafts

  • Lifejacket design and construction, correct donning procedure, purpose and use of lifejackets
  • Safety harnesses – purpose and use
  • Liferafts – stowage and containment onboard types, design and construction launching abandoning the vessel and boarding liferafts righting a capsized liferafts equipment initial actions to be taken in a liferafts

3. Principles of survival

  • Methods to increase chances of survival
  • Signs, symptoms and treatment of hypothermia
  • Symptoms, method of treatment for sunburn, heat exhaustion and heatstroke
  • Survival routines to aid location
  • Correct use of pyrotechnics and other location aids
  • Water rationing – procedures Dehydration and preventative measures
  • Food rationing Sources of food

4. Survival craft ailments

5. Raft management

6. Search and rescue

  • Rescue by helicopter or vessel
  • Role of HM Coastguard
  • UK and International SAR Organisation
  • Other services