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Search and Rescue ROVs: Underwater Robots to the Rescue

Shannon Regan   |   April 3, 2018

A look at how search and rescue ROVs aid in underwater SAR missions. Identifying the various equipment used to navigate and to identify targets in turbid or murky water.

The Power of Search and Rescue ROVs

canada search and rescue helicopter boat

By Bmpower at English Wikipedia (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Underwater search and rescue, recovery and investigations are time sensitive operations often performed in extremely challenging conditions. In emergency situations, the first ones to enter the water are specially trained search and rescue dive teams. From frozen ice search and rescue, evidence retrieved in fast-moving waters to port security and hull inspections, there are many conditions that pose a threat to public safety divers who enter the water. In cases such as these, remotely operated vehicles are used to complete the task.

Related: Coast Guard ROV Missions – Protecting Our Coastlines

With safety and cost efficiency at the forefront of these missions, it has never been more important for SAR teams to find new ways and new technologies to conduct these searches.

Prior to the use of ROVs, skilled divers were required to inspect harsh underwater environments with little to no visibility. On average, divers can work up to an hour with multiple breaks in between dives. Now with the use of innovative technologies, divers are able to send ROVs to great depths, locate critical areas and send divers down to inspect – allowing for efficient use of time and the ability to zero in on specific areas. ROVs also allow divers to remain rested until they are needed during the rescue process.

Use ROVs to improve the locating, identification and retrieval of your target

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Important Features for Search and Rescue ROVs Missions

When planning underwater missions for law enforcement, recovery, and security, there are key features required by an ROV to perform in harsh conditions. The Deep Trekker DTG2 and DTX2 offer numerous capabilities needed during SAR missions:

HD Camera and Video Capabilities

search and rescue rovs hd camera Deep Trekker’s internal 4K Ultra HD Camera is easy to use, with live, zero latency viewing on its handheld controller, all while the dive is recorded in 4K resolution. This allows SAR teams to see clearly underwater and identify mission targets via camera and video footage.

High-Intensity Lights

search and rescue-auxiliary-lighting During search missions in dark and murky waters, Deep Trekker offers external LED lighting in addition to the internal LED flood light that tracks with the camera. If operating at night or diving to great depths, the high powered LED lights are essential to illuminate underwater.

Deep Trekker Training: Learn how to use internal auxiliary lights by watching our video tutorial.

Sonar Technology

search and rescue sonar Large bodies of water can have limited visibility due to particles in water and dissolved organic material. When visibility is low, underwater footage is far more accurate with the use of sonar technology, providing clear images of the ocean floor, and targeting essential areas.

Two-Function Grabber Arm

search and rescue grabber arm   When an underwater target is identified, a grabber arm is deployed from the front of the ROV to securely grip the object and direct it to the surface of the water. Deep Trekker’s Two-Function Grabber Arm can rotate 360 degrees and hold up to 70 pounds of in-water weight, opening up to seven inches.

Onboard Battery Power

With onboard batteries, that last up to 8 hours on a single 1.5-hour charge, Deep Trekker ROVs operate independently of a topside power source and can be deployed in even the most remote areas. There is no need to lug around multiple power cases or generators, which allows for highly efficient rescue missions.

If you’d like to extend the battery life past 8 hours, Deep Trekker offers the Hybrid-Power System - available today!

Looking for more information?

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