Reno, Nevada. Jan. 19, 2018 – Truckee Meadows Fire has added a 17-foot shallow-water motorized aluminum rescue boat to its fleet for use on lakes, ponds, and even rivers at normal flows.

The new rescue boat, stationed near Washoe Lake, yields a design that allows the boat to operate in just a few inches of water, which is a perfect match for the shallow lake and its many acres of wet lands. Washoe Lake is a busy recreational area, and crews have conducted rescue operations for victims such as kite boarders, wind surfers, hunters, boaters, animals, and even passengers of automobiles that have crashed into the lake. The boat has a 40-horsepower surface drive motor, a GPS navigation system that detects water temperatures, speed, depth, and 360 degree sonar for searching for objects or victims below the water’s surface. The boat also has high power LED navigation lights for night operations.

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All TMFPD Firefighters are trained in shore-based water rescue operations, and boat operators are trained to locate and safely rescue people from the water when in distress. The District also has a swift water rescue team (W.E.T. – Water Entry Team) consisting of 25 firefighters certified in technical ice, swift water, and static water rescue. These firefighters must pass a stringent swim test each year, and train year-round to safely operate around all of the hazards that exist within static and swift water environments. The team utilizes inflatable rafts, kayaks and river boards to access people in the river, and now will use this boat for rescue operations in bodies of water like Washoe Lake.

“Our waterways and lakes remain high from last winter, and we’re seeing more people recreating in these areas than we did during the drought, which means there is more risk,” Chief Charlie Moore said. “It is important for us to have the tools necessary to respond to water emergencies, and this boat is a great resource for our W.E.T. Team.”