US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers: Training, Roles, and Accomplishments and the United States Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers are highly trained professionals who perform one of the most dangerous and physically demanding jobs in the world. These elite individuals are responsible for saving countless lives every year, often in treacherous weather conditions and turbulent seas.

USCG SAR Rescue Swimmer Shirt

The US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer School is located in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, and is known as the Aviation Technical Training Center. The school is renowned for its rigorous training program, which includes water survival, physical fitness, and rescue techniques. The training lasts for 24 weeks, and only a small percentage of candidates are accepted and complete the program.

The US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer School is divided into three phases. The first phase, which lasts for three weeks, focuses on water survival and physical fitness. Candidates must complete a series of demanding exercises, including underwater swimming, treading water, and rescue simulations in rough seas.

The second phase, which lasts for five weeks, focuses on rescue techniques. Candidates learn how to use various rescue equipment, such as hoists and rescue baskets, and how to perform rescue missions in various scenarios, including open water, mountains, and urban environments.

The final phase of the program, which lasts for 16 weeks, is dedicated to advanced rescue techniques. Candidates learn how to perform advanced medical procedures, including administering IVs and performing intubation, and how to work with other agencies in rescue missions.

USCG Rescue Swimmer
Rescue swimmers and aircrewmen from Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod, Mass., conduct hoist training evolutions June 23, 2015. The MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter pilots steadied the aircraft while the flight mechanics lowered and recovered the rescue swimmers to simulate recovering people in distress. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Ross Ruddell)

Once candidates complete the US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer School, they are assigned to various Coast Guard air stations around the country, where they are responsible for performing search and rescue missions in their designated area. The role of a rescue swimmer is to deploy from a helicopter into the water to perform rescues, provide medical assistance, and assist with recovery operations.

US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers have accomplished countless feats over the years. One of their most notable accomplishments was during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, where rescue swimmers performed over 1,200 rescues in the span of just a few days. In addition, rescue swimmers have also been involved in the response to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, where they assisted with the evacuation of personnel from the burning rig.

Overall, US Coast Guard Rescue Swimmers play a vital role in the safety and security of our nation’s waterways. Their courage, dedication, and training make them some of the most skilled and respected professionals in the world.