What It Takes To Be A Helicopter Rescue Swimmer

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Soundings magazine is fortunate to have many talented contributors. Mario Vittone, the author of Soundings’ “Lifelines: Safety and Rescue at Sea” column, is one of them. Vittone is an authority on the topic of marine safety and rescue, because he is a former U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer who performed many rescues during his career.

In the January 2019 issue of Soundings, Vittone wrote about what it takes to become a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer. You can read The World’s Greatest Job: How Rescue Swimmers Are Made, but if you want to see what the job takes, we highly recommend that you watch the below helicopter rescue footage as Vittone is lowered into the Atlantic Ocean to save a family of four, including a four-month old baby.

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The World’s Greatest Job: How Rescue Swimmers Are Made

You don’t have to be able to deadlift 400 pounds, but you do need to be able to keep your cool under pressure if you want to become a Coast Guard helicopter rescue swimmer, writes Mario Vittone in this week’s Lifelines: Safety And Rescue At Sea blog.


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In 2013, I retired as a maritime accident investigator for the Coast Guard. Prior to that, I was a helicopter rescue swimmer, and before that I worked aboard a patrol boat.


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