Training update – Basic Life Support Techniques

As mentioned at this year’s AGM, BSAC have updated their BLS guidelines in accordance with the latest expert advice. Here is their full statement, please make a note…

“Every five years, experts in resuscitation from organisations around the world conduct a review of published literature. The 2015 review and a resulting consensus statement form the scientific basis of the European Resuscitation Council and the Resuscitation Council (UK).

Their guidelines are consistent with the recommendations of similar resuscitation organisations worldwide. Having considered the revised guidelines, BSAC has updated its own recommended techniques for Basic Life Support (BLS).

A detailed information sheet on the updated Basic Life Support Techniques is now available.

Below is a summary of the essential changes to BSAC’s recommended techniques for Basic Life Support. BSAC is now recommending the following in-water rescue sequence:

  • Give one minute of rescue breaths (10 rescue breaths)
  •  If no spontaneous breathing returns, either:

(i) Tow the victim to shore as quickly as possible without further rescue breaths


(ii) Continue on the spot with approximately 10 rescue breaths per minute, until support from rescue boat or helicopter arrives to take over the resuscitation. This decision will depend on the local situation, such as sea conditions, distance to shore, and availability of rescue boat or rescue helicopter.

  • In either case, when reaching shore, or having access to the boat or helicopter, the casualty should be promptly dekitted and landed as quickly as possible without further rescue breaths.


Once the casualty is landed, basic life support should be carried out in line with the current guidance.

If you have any further questions regarding BSAC guidance on BLS please email BSAC’s Safety and Rescue Skills Advisor.

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