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AUXAIR Program - Survival Gear

Personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements are the same for Auxiliarists as for active duty Coast Guard and are listed below.  These are also detailed in the Operations Policy Manual in Annex 1-Flight Operations, Section D-Personal Protective Equipment.  Air station commanding officers will issue PPE and ensure Auxiliary aviators are properly outfitted before conducting Coast Guard missions. The following are required for all flight crew personnel:

  1. Flight approved protective helmets for all flight crew members of rotary-wing aircraft whenever the rotor(s) are turning
  2. Ear protection if a headset is not available
  3. For offshore operations:
  • Auxiliary aircraft shall carry one PFD for each person aboard the plane
  • All personnel aboard the aircraft must wear the standard survival vest or life preserver issue to Coast Guard aviators or a PFD approved by Commandant (G-OCX) (or designee)
  • All PFDs used aboard aircraft facilities must have manually controllable buoyancy
  • Inherently buoyant or automatically inflated PFDs are prohibited.
  • PFDs capable of selectable automatic or manual inflation may be worn provided the automatic inflation feature is disabled for use aboard aircraft.

Flight crew members must carry the following items on their person and tethered to the garment worn. (It is not necessary for flight crews to duplicate the equipment in the life raft)

  1. Day/night flares (2018 no longer recommended- use high intensity strobe)
  2. Signaling Mirror
  3. Portable or pocket strobe light
  4. Dye marker or sea rescue device
  5. Chemical emergency lights
  6. Whistle
  7. Survival knife

The aircraft must have aboard at least one Class II emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB), which must be carried in and tethered to one flight crew member's life jacket or survival vest.

*** Important Note *** 121.5/243Mhz beacons should no longer be used for mariners after January 1 2007 and will not available to anyone including Aviators after January 31, 2009.  All EPIRB equipment should be replaced with the 406MHz devices as soon as possible.


All aircraft conducting offshore operations must have one or more inspected life raft(s), together capable of holding all occupants. Rafts must be accessible to crewmembers without leaving their flight station.

Recommended Additional equipment includes:

  1. Insect repellant
  2. Space blanket
  3. Waterproof matches
  4. Sunscreen cream
  5. Pocket Compass

(Note: Air Station Commanding Officers may require additional items necessary for local conditions)

When flying offshore, each air crew member must have an anti-exposure garment in accordance with the Table below. These garments must meet Coast Guard approval for use in aircraft. All occupants of single-engine fixed-wing (SEFW) aircraft and helicopters must wear the required anti-exposure garments. Multi-engine (ME) aircraft must carry the required anti-exposure garments onboard, accessible to each occupant in flight.

Anti-Exposure Garment Requirements

Water Temp (W)


Air Temp (A)


70 °F ≤ W



Flight Suit

60 °F ≤ W < 70 °F


85 °F ≤ A

Flight Suit

60 °F ≤ W < 70 °F


A < 85 °F

ADC/Survival Suit

W < 60 °F





  • Aircrew dry coverall (ADC) is a Gortex/Nomex full dry suit worn in place of flight suit. It includes 4 levels of undergarments, wet suit mitts, and hood or surf cap.
  • A survival suit (Mustang, MAC-10, etc.) is a closed-cell, foam-insulated dry immersion suit. Rotary-wing aircraft crews are prohibited from wearing it in-flight because of the hazard involved in an inverted egress.
  • The Air Station Commanding officer may authorize waivers from these requirements on a case-by-case basis, after a determination that the risks associated with crew performance degradation, thermal stress, and environmental considerations are offset by the benefits associated with the waivers.