U.S Coast Guard exercises medical evacuations due to summer heat

Local News

Imagine you’re on a boat enjoying a beautiful hot summer day… All of a sudden you feel thirsty, dizzy, can’t seem to see well, but not only are you out of drinking water, but you’re miles away from shore.

What do you do? You make sure to call the U.S Coast Guard.

“Recently we’ve had a couple of people suffer from heat illnesses, heat exhaustion that we’ve had to go out and attend to to bring back and give medical assistance,” says Petty Officer Steven White.

White at the U.S Coast Guard station as South Padre Island says it is not uncommon to run into medical emergencies during the hot summer months. Which is why it’s important for the guard to have medical evacuation exercises with their Corpus Christi air crew at least once a week.

And KVEO was invited along for the ride.

“Right now you see them lowering the basket, the crew on the boat is directing that basket onto their boat with that trail line,” White explains.

The Coast Guard at SPI is responsible for approximately 35-hundred square miles from the ship channel and up to Port Mansfield. And though they travel at 40 to 45 knots per hour, having the much faster helicopter on scene, is crucial.

“In real life what this is going to do is if we had to evacuate somebody from a boat or the water we picked them from and needs medical assistance quicker, the helicopter can actually go about five times as fast as our boat in good conditions,” says White.

 It’s not as easy as it looks. Both the helicopter pilot and cocksman on the boat must work together to align themselves… taking into consideration the wind speed and direction of the waves.

And even though they are always ready to assist as fast possible, here are some tips if you decide to take a boat ride in this triple digit weather.

“Especially now, stay hydrated, keep an eye on each other if you’re out in the water, bring enough water out there, bring enough food and make a float plan let somebody know where you’re going,” says White.

If you have an emergency while offshore, call the U.S Coast Guard immediately either by phone at 956-546-2786 or by VHF-FM radio on channel 16.

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