Requesting Helicopter Assistance:


1. Give accurate position, time, speed, course, and weather (ceiling, visibility, wind direction /speed, and sea state).

2. Give complete medical emergency description (date/time of injury, severity, can they walk?)

3. Be prepared to change course toward the approaching helicopter if directed.


Before helicopter arrival:


1. Provide continuous radio guard on 2182 or 4125 kHz, 156.8 MHz (CH 16 VHF-FM) or a voice frequency specified by the SAR mission coordinator.

 2. Select and clear the hoist area, preferably aft in the stern. Secure loose gear, awnings, rigging and booms. Lower antennas if possible.

 3. At night, illuminate the hoist area as well as possible. Do not shine lights toward the helicopter (may blind pilot). Light any obstructions to warn the helo.

 4. Point searchlights vertically to help helo locate the ship. Extinguish when helo is on scene.

 5. Advise SAR mission coordinator of location of hoist area on vessel before helo arrives so the pilot can make his approach aft amidships or forward as necessary.

 6. Advise SAR mission coordinator how many people you have on board the vessel.

 7. There will be a high noise level under the helicopter, making voice communications almost impossible. Arrange a set of hand signals among the vessel crew who will assist.

 8. Prepare patient medical/injury information to accompany them.

 9. Tag patient with medication information: type if any, were administered and when.





Hoist operations:


1. Have patient's medical record and necessary papers packaged ready to transfer with them.

2. Move patient to position as close to the hoist area as their condition permits. Time is important. 3. Helo may lower a rescue swimmer to evaluate patient and assist hoist. Assist them and follow instructions.

4. Be prepared to load patient in a Coast Guard rescue device, which will be lowered by the helicopter. Do this as quickly as possible. Be sure the patient is strapped in, face up, with a life jacket if their condition permits.

5. Change course so the ship rides as easily as possible with the wind on the bow, preferably the port bow. Reduce speed if necessary to ease ship's movement, but maintain steerageway. Once the hoist begins, maintain course and speed.

6. If you do not have radio contact with the helicopter –– when you are in all respects ready for the hoist –– signal the helicopter in with a "come on" by hand, or at night by flashlight.

7. Allow the rescue device to touch the deck before handling it to avoid static discharge.

8. If helo drops a trail line, use it to guide rescue device to the deck.


DO NOT tie trail line or hoist cable to vessel


9. If necessary to take rescue device away from hoist point, unhook the hoist cable and keep free for helicopter to haul in. Do not attempt to move rescue device without unhooking it. DO NOT secure the cable to the vessel.

10. Place patient in rescue device, sitting with hands clear of sides or strapped in face up. Signal hoist operator when ready for hoist. Patient signals by nodding head if he is able. Deck personnel give "thumbs up" to hoist operator. Steady the rescue device to prevent turning or swinging.

11. If a trail line is attached to the rescue device use it to steady rescue device during hoist. Keep feet clear of line.