Washington State Patrol trooper cadets just hit the pool this week for some training… That’s right. The pool.

You may be wondering why a state trooper would have to know anything about water survival.

Well, it’s pretty simple. Washington State has 4,842 square miles of water. That means there is potential for a collision to end up in the water- this is especially true for those troopers patrolling around the Puget Sound.

Unfortunately for the Washington State Patrol, one of our own has died in the line of duty from drowning. Back in 1957, Trooper Gene Bolstand died while attempting to rescue a teenage boy in the surf at Long Beach. However, both were caught in the undertow and did not survive.

We as an agency are always learning from each situation; How to be better troopers and in turn better serve the citizens of Washington.

This water survival and rescue training is no easy feat. Instructors not only turn all the lights off but also drop the water temperature to a cool 60 in order to realistically simulate the conditions of the Puget Sound. Every training exercise and scenario is meant to feel as real as possible. Instructors will even go as far as to lower an old red Corvette to the bottom of the pool, put on their full scuba gear, and sit in the driver’s seat while cadets attempt to rescue them.

Not only do these exercises teach cadets necessary skills, but it also does two things:

  1. Builds confidence
  2. Teaches them officer safety and that some water rescue attempts may not be worth the risk.

While it is not required to pass the program, it is mandatory that all cadets to go through water survival training.

Here is a quick look at what their training is like:


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Drew Mikkelsen from King5 came out to the Academy to get a firsthand look at the training and talk to some of the cadets about their experiences. You can check out his great story here: http://www.king5.com/news/local/wsp-cadets-get-wet-as-part-of-training/466825997

Think you can take on this water survival training? The Washington State Patrol is actively hiring for trooper cadets now. Head over to trooperstories.com to learn about what a career as a state trooper looks like.