VIDEO: Underwater training

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The Coast Guard started an “underwater egress” training program last summer to help crewmembers increase their chances of survival in the event of a capsize.

The training exercises are conducted in an indoor pool at the Coast Guard Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City, N.C., where rescue swimmers are trained.

Trainees are put through a series of tests, including a simulated capsize while in the cabin of a 28-foot response boat. Approximately 200 people have completed the training.

Click play to watch the simulated capsize and other training scenarios.

“Our goal is to ensure we provide the best safety training to our folks as our tactics and boat speeds increase to ensure they’re able to egress from a worst-case scenario — a capsized boat,” said Lt. Cmdr. Sara Wallace, the strategic platform policy and competency manager at the Office of Boat Forces at Coast Guard headquarters.

The training stems from a 2005 accident in which a Coast Guard boat capsized during high-speed maneuvers in the Port of Valdez, Alaska. The four crewmembers exited the cabin and crawled onto the overturned hull. An investigation found that they had received egress training at their unit, and that training was credited with saving their lives.