Petty Officer 2nd Class Renee Gasper along with Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Nicol from U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Miami describes aviation survival training and its importance for members to familiarize themselves with emergency procedures during a casualty on an aircraft. Aviation Survival Technicians facilitate survival training such as swim tests and sea survival techniques. (U.S. Coast Guard video by Seaman Erik Villa Rodriguez)
You’re swimmin’ 75 yards with all your gear on. So you have your boots, your flight suit, your survival vest which has weight. In a controlled landing into the water, or an unexpected landing into the water, either way. So, you can expect that the aircraft is gonna flip upside down. So, that’s why we do the SWET chairs. So, you sit in this chair, they flip you upside-down. You have to know where your reference points are, know how to disconnect yourself so that you don’t get tangled up in there. Know how to jettison the doors. That way, you can safely exit in a situation that you’re under water. In a lot of cases, at night time where you can’t see anything. And exit safely.
Going through this training, giving the training ourselves, we put ourselves through it as well. So, our guys can share training through that way. So, we are very familiar with it. And then, when we train. we’re teaching it all the time by constantly going through these person to person, time after time. We’re kind of meeting the steps now and (mumbles) same time. So, when it does come to that… Come to that time, muscle memory takes over and we’re able to get ourselves out of the situation safely.
We keep ourself and the people that we are assisting safe by followin’ procedures keeping with the training that we do. I mean, just so that we are proficient in emergency situations. We have emergency procedures that we follow in a case that something goes wrong in an aircraft. The public should take a page from our book. I mean, we’re goin’ out there and practicing worst case scenarios on a regular basis. So, the public should take the time if they are gonna be out on the water, if they have their own boats, or they’re renting boats, or kayaking, or paddle boarding, or just swimming, and think of the worst case scenario and what they would do. So, that way, there’s no question.
Make sure you’re training yourself for the worst possible scenario. That way, when it does pop up, you have a basic set of guidelines or steps to get yourself out of that situation. We train to keep ourselves safe while we’re trying to keep the public safe. Train how you fight. Make sure when you come into these things that you’re putting in the effort, making sure you’re being a good student. And that way, when it comes onto (mumbles) the public we’re gonna put our best foot forward.