The US Coast Guard’s Special Operations are known as Rescue Swimmers. The Coast Guard’s rescue swimmers are the brave young men and women who risk their own life to save others. These are the members of elite team of Coast Guard Guardians that free fall from helicopters into dangerous seas to perform daring rescues.
The Coast Guard training school for rescue swimmers is one of the most physically and mentally challenging special operations training programs in the US Armed Forces. The rescue swimmer training school has an attrition rate higher than 50%, one of the highest student attrition rates of any special operations school in the military. Roughly 75 students go through the school each year, and fewer than half complete the training. They are a small group within the U.S. Coast Guard, only about 300 of them service-wide. Becoming a rescue swimmer is a four month training course called the Airmen Training Couse. Rescue methods, EMT Training, equipment training are part of the wide variety of special training.
Most rescue swimmers are men, however, in the Coast Guard men and women can serve at any position they are qualified to serve including rescue swimmers. According to the Rescue Swimmers handbook, “The rescue swimmer must have the flexibility, strength, endurance, and equipment to function for 30 minutes in heavy seas, and the skills to provide basic pre-hospital life support for the rescued individual(s). Rescue Swimmer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) skills may also be used during other Search and Rescue (SAR) cases in which the swimming ability is not required.”