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Travel Health & Safety Blog

Does my vessel need an onboard medical professional?

Working as a medic onboard a superyacht

At MedAire we often receive queries from clients about employing medical professionals onboard, as well as from nurses and medics wanting to start their career onboard a superyacht.


When it comes to onboard medical professionals, vessels have two options:


  1. Employing someone full-time (via specialist recruitment agencies like Wilsonhalligan Yacht Recruitment)

  2. MedAire medical placement (recruiting an individual on a flexible basis i.e. for a few weeks during a specific trip).

In this blog we’ll look at those two options, exploring the positives and drawbacks both for the individual and the owner/captain and we’ll also provide some helpful resources.


WHAT TYPE OF YACHTS REQUIRE A FULL TIME MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL?

MedAire work closely with Wilsonhalligan Yacht Recruitment who regularly recruit for specialist medical roles onboard yachts, which can include anything from registered nurses and paramedics to doctors. According to their team, these types of positions were few and far between 10 years ago, but now the company sees medical positions coming in month after month.


Some of the common needs for employing a full-time medic onboard can include:

  • Aging owners & guests
  • Known medical conditions & disabilities of those onboard
  • Cruising in areas where shoreside facilities are limited or substandard
  • A need to more accurately diagnose and treat more onboard (therefore requiring people who are trained to use specific equipment)

WHAT TYPE OF YACHTS MAY BENEFIT FROM A MEDAIRE MEDICAL PLACEMENT?

Although the needs for a medical placement are similar to employing someone full-time, a few additional considerations include:

  • The aging owner not being onboard as regularly, meaning that the skills of a nurse aren’t required for prolonged periods.
  • Placements offer a greater degree of flexibility to support changing medical needs.
  • You may have a full time nurse, but perhaps the additional support of a doctor is required during certain trips.
  • There may be concerns with regards to a particular trip or charter (remote, medical concerns related to charter guests, request from the guests themselves etc)
  • The need to cover the duties of your full time medical professional while they’re on leave

DO I NEED A FULL-TIME MEDIC OR A MEDICAL PLACEMENT?

According to Nicola Morgan, Director at Wilsonhalligan “In recent years and especially since the COVID pandemic, many yacht owners simply want the security of having a qualified medical professional on board, whether full-time or otherwise”.


There are of course, wide-ranging benefits to hiring an onboard medic/nurse which include:

  • You have someone onboard all the time (often in a dual stew/nurse role)
  • The crew member is integrated into the team and can consolidate any medical training received from MedAire into their regular drills, engaging the crew more effectively with the importance of health and medical onboard.
  • Continuity of care to the owner/guests and crew.
  • An onboard nurse can also be more cost effective in the long run (compared to a placement)

A few drawbacks to consider include:

  • These types of roles are often split between medical and stew, this can complicate logistics regarding responsibilities onboard
  • Skill fade can also be a challenge, as full-time medics may not have practiced in a clinical environment for years, compromising their ability to respond effectively to a situation (unlike medical placement staff).
    • Tip: It’s important to consider skill fade and factoring in regular training as part of the crew member’s package, for example a month of clinical training in an E.R. as part of their rotation.

FIND OUT MORE

MedAire have a network of over 3,500 approved medical staff that are continually pre-screened to ensure qualifications and the highest levels of care. Candidates remain under MedAire’s employment and are covered by our liability, providing additional peace of mind, when you require a medical professional on a temporary basis.


If you are interested in a medical placement onboard a yacht or in employing a doctor, nurse or paramedic on a flexible, temporary basis, contact us here.


If you are interested in a full time medical professional role or in employing a medical professional, you can speak to Wilson Halligan at: https://www.wilsonhalligan.com/contact/ 

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