Rescue Swimmer Fitness Standards

Rescue Swimmer Fitness Standards

If you have been motivated by the heroics played live on your television set or movie screens to think about becoming a Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer - be prepared because when you arrive at Coast Guard Rescue Swimmer School in Elizabeth City N.C., you will be expected to excel in one of the most stressful environments in military training.

According to the Rescue Swimmer course syllabus, rescue swimmers must have flexibility, strength, endurance, and be able to function for 30 minutes in heavy seas. So, being comfortable in the water is an understatement. You have to be able to think and perform challenging tasks while submerged, holding your breath, and getting tossed around my 10-20 ft. waves.

Rescue swimmers also must have the skills to provide basic pre-hospital life support for rescued individuals. And as part of their training, candidates must complete an emergency medical training (EMT) course. This is not an ordinary EMT - exposed to high seas, rough terrain, and other dangers an ordinary EMT will not survive.

The training you are seeking is hardcore physical and mental training that will challenge you to your core. In fact, Rescue Swimmer School boasts more than a 50% attrition rate - so it is crucial for you go to the training scoring high in your PFT, but more importantly - be confident in the water. Not cocky! You must have a deep respect for the power of the sea, but know that your training will help save your life and the lives of the ocean\'s victims.

The required monthly physical training test includes push-ups, situps, pull-ups, chin-ups, 12-minute crawl swim (500-yard minimum), 25-yard underwater swim and a 200-yard buddy tow.

Rescue Swimmer minimum PFT standards:

Exercise Minimum Standard

Shoulder Width Pushups

Sit-ups 60
Pull-ups 5
Chin-ups 5
500 Yard Crawl Swim Completed within 12 Minutes
25 Yard Underwater Swim Repeat 4 Times
Buddy Tow 200 Yds. (RS shall use cross-chest carry or equipment tow.)

I recommend the following scores to better succeed with the training course:

- Pushups - 100 in 2:00 - Sit-ups - 100 in 2:00 - Pull-ups - 15-20 - 12:00 Swim - swim 500-750yd - 1.5 mile run - sub 9:00 - 25 yd underwater swim - complete - 200 yd Buddy tow - complete

If you are considering this profession, take an Ocean Life Guard course with the Red Cross to see if have what it takes. You will learn how to perform the crawl stroke, underwater swim, and buddy tow properly with this preparatory Life Guard Course.

More USCG Special Training Articles:

- Special Missions PFT - Helicopter Rescue Swimmers - Pass Military Swimming Tests - Swimming With Fins

More Swimming Articles:

- Helicopter Rescue Swimmer Training - Popular Swimming Pool Workouts - Summer Swimming Workouts - Swimming With Fins - Swimming Without Water - Video: The Combat Swim - The Combat Swim - Passing Military Swimming Tests

PT programs to train for the Coast Guard PFT can be found at the following links:

- Pullups / Flexed Arm Hang - Pushups and Sit-ups - Running - Swimming

Other related Coast Guard Fitness Articles:

- The Coast Guard Physical Fitness Program - The Coast Guard Basic PFT - Coast Boot Special Missions and Law Enforcement Fitness Standards - Physical Fitness Test Anxiety

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the Fitness eBook store and the Stew Smith article archive at To contact Stew with your comments and questions, e-mail him at

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