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Commercial Shark Fishery Observer Program

Observer Training

Helicopter Evacuations
Coast Guard search and rescue
During a helicopter evacuation, there is a set protocol which should be followed. First is the initial contact, using a radio or chalk board lowered by the helicopter. Critical information is provided to the rescuers regarding vessel name, description, length, call sign, location, weather conditions, number of people on board, and nature of problem - vessel or medical. In preparation for the evacuation, the area from which the evacuation is to occur is secured and cleared. This area is usually toward the stern of the vessel. The crew should keep the boat making forward progress with the bow approximately 40 degrees to the right of wind line. The survivors/patients are prepared for hoist with eye and ear protection and warm clothing as well as PFDs. During the actual hoist, the trail line is dropped which is used to guide the litter/basket to the vessel. The litter/basket must be allowed to touch the deck to avoid static charge. NEVER attach the hoist hook to the vessel while still connected to the aircraft! The survivor/patient is strapped in litter/basket with all limbs safely inside. The helicopter will hoist the litter/basket upon a hand signal, with the trail line used to guide and stabilize. Helicopter evacuations can be dangerous to crews in both the vessel and helicopter due to static charges from cables, entanglement in vessel's gear, and dangerous weather conditions.

helicopter