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Transcript for The Rescue Sequence

Narrator: The rescue sequence is an approach to water rescue tactics from simple to complex.


The first person to rescue you is you. Self-rescue techniques involve your ability to reach safety should you end up in the water.


Shore-based rescue consists of throwing and reaching techniques. The limits of these tactics are based upon distance and the victim’s ability to be able to reach and grasp the device deployed. Examples include throw bags, extension devices like reach poles or paddles, and capturing techniques such as a tension diagonal net or a double-line floating tether system.


Boat-based rescue allows technicians to reach distant locations, carry rescue assets and tools, transport personnel and victims, and provide stable platforms to work from in challenging conditions. They can be unpowered or powered boats, rescue boards, and sleds.

Direct Contact

Direct contact rescue involves technicians entering the water to rescue and/or recover a victim. The use of Type V water rescue vests for tethered swimmer rescue requires strong swimming skills, significant training, and practice. Direct contact can also include the use of public safety divers to reach submerged victims.


Helicopter is the highest and most complex of the rescue sequence. Aerial platforms can transport personnel and assets when time, distance, and access is limited. Rescue technicians can also hoist to and extract victims using multiple rescue devices. The rescue sequence provides options to rescuers. Remember, keep it simple, train with all tactics, and have backup in place prior to engaging.

On screen: For more information contact:
Boating and Watercraft Safety Manager
PA Fish and Boat Commission
1601 Elmerton Ave. – PO Box 67000
Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000

Copyright: PA Fish and Boat Commission
Video by: Chris A. Calhoun

Special thanks to the International Association of Water Rescue Professional for footage.

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