Rescue swimmer to speak in Rockland


Mario Vittone

If you’ve ever been curious about the perils of ocean exposure, but have been too sensible to jump into the ocean’s waves to experience them firsthand, an alternative learning opportunity is about to surface in Rockland.

Mario Vittone, a former U.S. Coast Guard rescue swimmer and marine safety expert, is scheduled to give a talk on his experiences on Thursday, May 5, at The Strand Theater in Rockland.

The event, titled “You Love the Ocean – It Doesn’t Love You Back” and presented by Allen Insurance and Financial, doubles as a fundraiser for scholarships at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine.

According to a press release on the upcoming event, Vittone is an expert on immersion hypothermia, drowning, sea survival, and safety at sea. He has been published in Yachting magazine, SaltWater Sportsman, MotorBoating magazine, Lifelines, On-Scene and Reader’s Digest.

Vittone has developed courses for municipal rescue teams and military personnel on search and rescue tactics and open-ocean survival, the release indicates. In 2007 he was named Coast Guard Active Duty Enlisted Person of the Year and, two years later, received the federal agency’s Alex Haley Award for Journalism.

“This event will be of interest to anyone with a professional or recreational interest in the sea, or a passion for the ocean,” Mike Pierce, president of Allen Insurance and Financial, said in the release.

The Camden-based firm is partnering with The Strand Theater and with Ocean Navigator, Professional Mariner and Maine Boats Homes and Harbors magazines in sponsoring Vittone’s appearance. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased at the theater box office or online at

Bill Trotter

About Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors. He writes about fisheries, marine-related topics, eastern coastal Maine communities and more for the BDN. He lives in Ellsworth. Follow him on Twitter at @billtrotter.