Latest update: 19/03/2021

Directive 92/29/EEC - medical treatment on board vessels

of 31 March 1992 on the minimum safety and health requirements for improved medical treatment on board vessels


The objective of this Directive is to improve medical assistance at sea since a vessel represents a workplace involving a wide range of risks.


The terms "vessel", "worker", "owner", "medical supplies" and "antidote" are defined. Three categories of vessels are defined which are described in full in Annex I of the Directive.


Each Member State shall take the measures necessary to ensure that:

  • every vessel flying its flag or registered by it always carries on board medical supplies which meet the specifications for the category of vessel to which it belongs to;
  • the quantities of medicinal products and medical equipment are determined according to the characteristics of the voyage, the activities to be carried out during the voyage, the nature of the cargo, and the number of workers;
  • the content of the medical supplies are detailed on a check-list corresponding to the general framework laid down in Annex IV of the Directive;
  • every vessel carries a watertight medicine chest for each of its lifeboats;
  • the content of medicine chests is detailed on the check-list;
  • every vessel that is more than 500 gross tonnes, with a crew of 15 or more workers and is engaged on a voyage of more than three days has a sick bay;
  • every vessel that has a crew of 100 or more workers and is engaged on an international voyage of more than three days has a doctor on board.

Any vessel carrying dangerous substances must have medical supplies including antidotes appropriate to the danger presented by such substances. In principle, all antidotes should be carried on ferry-type vessels since the nature of the dangerous substances transported on these vessels is not always known well enough in advance. The content of the supplies must be detailed on a check-list.

The provision and replenishment of the medical supplies are to be undertaken on the responsibility and at the expense of the owner. Responsibility for the management of the supplies lies with the captain.

The medical supplies must be accompanied by a guide to their use. Professional maritime training must include instruction in medical and emergency measures. The captain and the worker or workers to whom he delegates the use of the medical supplies must receive special medical training in accordance with the general guidelines of Annex V.

Medical supplies must be subjected to annual inspection.


Annex I: Categories of vessels

Annex II: Medical supplies (non-exhaustive list)

Annex III: Dangerous substances

Annex IV: General framework for the inspection of vessels’ medical supplies

Annex V: Medical training of the captain and designated workers

Read the full text of the consolidated version of the Directive (including later amendments)

Read the full text of the original Directive (without later amendments)

National laws implementing this Directive

Further information on this topic

See also further documents of the European Commission on that topic:

Report from the Commission to the Council, the European Parliament, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions on the practical implementation of Health and Safety at Work Directives 93/103/EC (fishing vessels) and 92/29/EEC (medical treatment on board vessels)

Evaluation of the Practical Implementation of the EU Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Directives in EU Member States - Medical treatment on board vessels  (2017)