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What It Takes To Be A Helicopter Rescue Swimmer


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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The right preparation, safety equipment and knowledge can go a long way to minimize damage.


Be Prepared By Planning To Fail

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.


The Perfect Rescue Swimmer

Working from speeding boats and helicopters, the Italian Coast Guard uses Newfoundland dogs to rescue people from the water. READ


Albemarle Unveils Its First Dual Console

Last week at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Albemarle Boats launched its first-ever dual console boat, the Albemarle 27DC. Come aboard for a first look with Soundings senior editor Gary Reich.


VIDEO: Ask Mario: EPIRBs Vs. Satellite Tracking Devices

In this Ask Mario video, Mario Vittone answers Len Thibodeaux's question: Does Mario prefer EPIRBs or Satellite Tracking Devices?


Cow Hair What?

Anyone who’s been around wooden boat building knows about using oakum or cotton to seal the spaces between wood planks. But cow hair? You just have to see it to believe it