What is an ROV? An ROV is a Remotely Operated Vehicle that travels underwater. It is controlled from the surface by a cable or tether. It can have many attachments, including ultraviolet lights and a camera to allow the operator to see underwater.

How much do they cost? Prices range from $70,000 – $120,000 depending on the range and attachments needed.

Why do we need one in Western SD? Western SD is the most logical place for this piece of equipment because of the deep reservoirs in this area. It is home to the Rapid City / Pennington County Water Rescue Team, which can travel anywhere in the surrounding area to an emergency or mutual aid request. There have been three deep water recovery operations in the past five years where this equipment could have been utilized. (2015: Pactola Reservoir – passenger thrown overboard when a jet ski struck a boat) (2012: Deerfield Reservoir – kayaker disappeared while kayaking alone) (2011: Pactola Reservoir – swimmer drowned while on an outing with friends)

If the Water Rescue Team has divers, why do they need an ROV? An ROV would allow the team to operate more quickly and efficiently with less danger to the first responders and divers.

Why is an ROV able to operate so much more quickly than a human diver? Because it is a mechanical piece of equipment, it is not subject to the same water pressure variables and restrictions as a human body. In deep water it can take a human diver up to two hours to descend and ascend to investigate a point of interest. The ROV can do the same thing in a few minutes with less human risk.

Why not just borrow one? Isn’t that what happened last summer? You can borrow something from your neighbor periodically, but if you keep asking, eventually, they may not be so accommodating. Also, time is a critical factor and the equipment and personnel may not be immediately available.

If the Water Rescue Team needs this equipment, why don’t they just buy it? Like any government agency, the Water Rescue Team has a limited budget each year. If they used a large part of their annual allowance for one piece of equipment, they might not have the money for other expenses or training.

Why is SDWU raising money to purchase an ROV? The mission statement of SDWU is to Preserve, Protect and Improve fisheries, and to make fishing more available to people of all abilities. Part of that responsibility is boating and water safety. Our first responders need the best equipment available to accomplish their mission. SDWU wants to help make this possible.

How is SDWU raising money to purchase an ROV? We are asking the public to pledge a small donation to an account that will be used exclusively to purchase an ROV. This is a grassroots effort. In order to be successful, every person needs to make a small contribution to reach the goal.

Why should I contribute? I don’t even fish? Own a boat? Use the water? Anyone that knows anyone that uses the outdoors, or expects quality response from emergency agencies will benefit from this endeavor. Anyone that knows anyone involved with law enforcement or emergency response should feel obligated to contribute.

How much should I contribute? You can donate as much as you would like. The goal is $100,000. If every registered boat owner in Western SD donated $10 each, we would already be done. That is the equivalent of 4 gallons of gas.

Please mail your check today to: SDWU ROV Fund PO Box 9574 Rapid City, SD 57709