SDWU wants to thank all the people who supported this project!
On September 1st some SDWU members met with friends and family of Gabby Fisher as well as some Rapid City / Pennington County Water Rescue ROV team members at Pactola Reservoir in remembrance of Gabby Fisher to initiate the new South Dakota ROV, Remotely Operated underwater Vehicle. Everyone was eager to hear about and experience the new “Fisher Finder”.
Rod Seals, Interim Rapid City Fire Chief, and some of the ROV team members showed the ROV to the group. They thanked the group for raising funds to help provide this game changing tool for the state. This tool is a dream come true for rescuers. It will reduce the safety risk for divers and their families by helping divers manage how much dive time they feel they need to do to complete their job. In the past, there have been times where divers had to go to the emergency room for “the bends”.
There have been eight people trained on the ROV from multiple government departments to utilize their knowledge, skills and insights. This also helps encourage communications between departments. The ROV needs three people to operate it (one to drive, one to read the sonar, and one to manage the tether/cord).
This ROV was chosen with input from the North Dakota group that has brought in their ROV multiple times to help in rescues in the Black Hills. The ROV is a Steelhead model from Seamor Marine, which is the first one of its size to have sonar. It is a tethered machine with a camera, lights, sonar and a rotating claw, as one of the many possible attachments. The tether is 500 feet long with the ability to add another 500 feet. The ROV is made to be neutral buoyant and can hover over a target.
The ROV could have more uses than just search and rescue and recovery. There are opportunities to use the device on things like underwater evidence gathering, inspection of dams, and possibly research related to fishing.
SDWU is happy to be a part of a project that can help families of outdoor enthusiasts and rescuers in what could be a great time of need.