1. #1
    MembersZone Subscriber
    ShaversFork's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    The Southern Outer Banks/Crystal Coast

    Default Zodiac for surf rescue

    Anyone utilizing a Zodiac/outboard motor for Ocean/surf rescue? We have a Zodiac and PWC w/ board, SOG'd for rescue ops.Any tips on Zodiac operational do's and don'ts? We are training hard and any tips would be appreciated.

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    BladesRobinson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Indian River County, Florida

    Default Indian River County (FL) Fire Rescue uses an inflatable for surf rescue too...

    Our agency (Indian River County Fire Rescue, Vero Beach, FL) has been using rigid hulled inflatable boats for surf rescue for almost 20 years. The tip I would pass along is to use the maximum horse power you are allowed. The idea isn't for top end speed as much as for quickness when working in the surf zone.

    We also use an electric start engine as opposed to pull start so we have minimal time to crank the engine in the surf zone. On a typical call out, we take the time to start the engine at the fire station, connected to a garden hose. While we are warming up the engine, a three man engine company and two man ambulance crew is responding to the scene to gather information and establish which pre-established launch site should be utilized. We like having a minimum of six people on scene to retrieve the boat though we can launch with three people without too much difficulty (in most cases).

    The boat is operated by two persons, a coxswain and a crewman. The crewman is also allowed to do a rescue swim under certain circumstances and both the coxswain and crewman have to be in agreement with decision to perform a rescue swim.

    Personnel working aboard the vessel are required to wear a Type III PFD and a helmet. We carry an additional PFD and helmet for a victim and assuming a second victim is brought onboard, a rescue tube would be secured around the second victim.

    Inside the vessel, we have attached foot straps to the floorboards and ergonomically located hand holds glued to the sponsons. These additions allow both the crewman and coxswain to maintain their positions aboard the vessel when working in rough surf. The other addition is the kill switch is attached to a surf leash. This allows the cowswain to move forward and assist in a victim retrieval without killing the engine. If the coxswain goes overboard, the kill switch is pulled free via the surf leash. We also make certain that a spare kill switch "key" is aboard the vessel so the crewman can start the engine and retrieve the coxswain, if necessary.

    On the exterior of the vessel, we have added a keel gaurd which provides a high level of protection when retrieving the vessel from the surf. It is not uncommon for the coxswain to drive the vessel up onto the beach if surf conditions are poor. We have also attached a prop guard to the lower unit to prevent severe injury should a person be struck by the lower unit while the prop is engaged. There is some loss of power but the benefit of the prop gaurd exceeds the risks due to lost thrust.

    If you want additional information or pictures, please feel free to contact any of the station officers assigned to our Marine Rescue Station. With regrets I will be off the next two shifts, returning on Memorial Day. The phone number for the station is: 772.492.2402.

    Best of luck!

    Blades Robinson

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