The United States Coast Guard is a branch of the military often associated with search and rescue operations. The Coast Guard is tasked with an array of duties, from enforcing maritime law to protecting the environment. However, search and rescue often stands out as one of the most critical and potentially life-saving operations that the Coast Guard can perform.
Within the Coast Guard, there are several rates responsible for carrying out search and rescue missions. These rates include Aviation Survival Technician (AST), Boatswain’s Mate (BM), Marine Science Technician (MST), Operations Specialist (OS), and Rescue Swimmer (RS).
Aviation Survival Technicians are responsible for rescuing people who are stranded or lost at sea. They often work with rescue swimmers to retrieve people from the ocean, and they are trained in medical procedures to provide emergency care until the person can be transported to a hospital.
Boatswain’s Mates are responsible for operating and maintaining the Coast Guard’s fleet of boats. They serve as lookouts during search and rescue missions and often help with the transportation of people and equipment.
Marine Science Technicians are responsible for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) compliance and help to investigate oil and chemical spills. They play a vital role in detecting environmental hazards in the water during search and rescue missions.
Operations Specialists are responsible for coordinating and overseeing search and rescue operations. They monitor radio and radar communication to provide real-time information to the rescuers.
Finally, Rescue Swimmers are responsible for saving lives in the water. They are known for their bravery and skill in extreme environments, which allows them to operate as first responders in emergency situations.
The Coast Guard has various roles, but search and rescue missions are undoubtedly one of their most important tasks, and it takes the efforts of numerous rates working together to execute them successfully. Still, the rate’s responsibilities broadly share the common thread of all being critical in rescuing those who rely on them during perilous times.