Chautauqua County Adds New Rescue Boat

A view from the pilot house of Marine 7, Chautauqua County Emergency Services newest search and rescue craft while underway on Chautauqua Lake, March 8. Submitted Photo. P-J photo by Christopher Blakeslee

MAYVILLE – A new rescue boat will be on duty this summer across Chautauqua County waterways.

Chautauqua County Emergency Services recently took possession of the county’s newest watercraft, an emergency dive and rescue boat, callsign Marine 7. The 27-foot watercraft and rescue platform was purchased from Stanley Boats, Ontario, Canada, and hosts a variety of features designed to make it a state-of-the-art search and rescue watercraft.

“The boat has twin 200 horsepower outboard engines (400 hp total), side-scanning radar and downward facing imaging system,” said Giles. “It’s all aluminum and has a reinforced bow in case we need to beach it fast. This boat is going to enhance our ability to respond to emergencies not only on Chautauqua Lake, but all the waterways within our county.”

The extra room this boat provides is a real benefit for the first responders, who have been using a smaller vessel for several years. Additionally, the ability to beach a vessel is something this emergency response team has been unable to do or had very few areas where it could accomplish this feat in the past.

“We were using a 19-foot rigid hull inflatable boat,” said Giles. “With the extra room we have now, divers will be able to suit up in dry or wet suits and we have room to store all our extra emergency gear. This is a stable platform.”

Marine 7, Chautauqua County Emergency Services search and rescue dive boat is returning to port after a trial run, March 8. Submitted Photo

Beaching a boat is the process in which a ship or boat is laid ashore or grounded in a deliberate manner. The county’s past RHI combines a rigid hull constructed of fiberglass with the inflatable tubes of a sport boat. Thus, making beaching the craft a dangerous undertaking at best.

Additionally, Giles also pointed out the multiple-departmental structure of the crews who will or can man this rescue craft.

“We have eight sheriff deputies who are rescue dive certified and six firefighters,” he said. “All the rescue divers are emergency medical technician certified and we have other fire departments, such as the Jamestown Fire Department, who can staff it as well.”

According to padi.com to become a certified PADI rescue diver requires 8 – 12 hours of classroom work; 4 -7 days of pool and water training days; cost around $224 and potential rescue divers must complete the following prerequisites: completion of the Underwater Navigation Adventure Dive course and hold a PADI Adventure Diver certification. A PADI or other qualifying Advanced Open Water Diver is acceptable. Certification also requires CPR and first aid training within the past 24 months.

“We require all our divers to be Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) or National Association of Underwater Instructors (NAUI) certified rescue divers,” he said. “They pay for this out of their own pockets in order to make our team.”

Chautauqua County Emergency Services recently took possession of a 27-foot water rescue and emergency platform boating system, Marine 7. This Stanly watercraft features side-scanning radar, a downward facing imaging system, reinforced aluminum haul and twin 200 horsepower Outboard motors. Submitted Photo

The Sheriff’s Office receives several calls a year for search and rescue services, for a variety of scenarios where life is at peril from various locations, countywide.

“Last year was a little slow, we had about 10-15 calls for support,” he said. “However, these numbers can fluctuate from year to year,” said Giles. “Sometimes we get called out, then canceled enroute, other times we’re engaging in life-saving missions or recovery operations.”


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