Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue Sw
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S
 Dean Saffron Hawaii Coastgurad Rescue S

Help on the Way

Whether in the dark of night, in the teeth of storms or in twenty-foot waves, the Coast Guard’s elite Aviation Survival Technicians risk everything to rescue those foundering at sea!

Story by DW Gibson

But not everybody who gets amped up after a flick makes the cut. Williams is the chief of “the shop”—the headquarters—in Kapolei and he estimates that as many as 70 percent of the people who make it to training school don’t pass—an attrition rate similar to that of the school for US Navy SEALs. Only about a thousand people have become rescue swimmers.

But not everybody who gets amped up after a flick makes the cut. Williams is the chief of “the shop”—the headquarters—in Kapolei and he estimates that as many as 70 percent of the people who make it to training school don’t pass—an attrition rate similar to that of the school for US Navy SEALs. Only about a thousand people have become rescue swimmers.

The program began in 1985, two years after the cargo ship Marine Electric sank thirty miles off the coast of Virginia. Thirty-one of the thirty-four crew members died before they could be rescued. Congress held hearings and tasked the Coast Guard with putting together a special rapid response unit for maritime emergencies. In the thirty-five years since, rescue swimmers have pulled tens of thousands of people out of the water—by some estimates they hoisted 33,500 people to safety during Hurricane Katrina alone. About 360 rescue swimmers are standing duty at any given time, and they operate in all conditions, from the ice of Kodiak, Alaska, and Lake Erie, to the tropical waters of O‘ahu, where eleven rescue swimmers work out of their shop across the street from Nimitz Beach. 

The program began in 1985, two years after the cargo ship Marine Electric sank thirty miles off the coast of Virginia. Thirty-one of the thirty-four crew members died before they could be rescued. Congress held hearings and tasked the Coast Guard with putting together a special rapid response unit for maritime emergencies. In the thirty-five years since, rescue swimmers have pulled tens of thousands of people out of the water—by some estimates they hoisted 33,500 people to safety during Hurricane Katrina alone. About 360 rescue swimmers are standing duty at any given time, and they operate in all conditions, from the ice of Kodiak, Alaska, and Lake Erie, to the tropical waters of O‘ahu, where eleven rescue swimmers work out of their shop across the street from Nimitz Beach.