Game and Parks beefing up water rescue technology

By: Brittany Paris

It’s boating season. And after the long winter, Nebraskans are eager to hit the water.

Nebraska Game and Parks is reminding everyone to be safe out there, but accidents do happen.

Boating Law Enforcement Officer, Daryl Teter, says his team is learning to use Sightscan sonar and GPS technology to help in search and rescue efforts.

“We’re practicing finding objects and marking them so if it comes to a point where it needs to be recovered and brought up to the surface, we can get one diver there,” Teter said.

“It’s kind of like seeing underwater. It uses and under water radar technology to find object,” Sgt. Tony Rendleman, of Illinois, said.

Rendleman is here training Game and Park on the equipment.

He made a fake body out of chicken wire so teams can practice finding and marking it for divers.

Teter hopes they never have to use this technology, but knows they probably will. He says the most important thing is to wear your life jacket.

“We know it’s going to happen. People don’t always wear life jackets and tragedy happens,” he said.

Rendleman says recovering a drowning victim could take up to a month, but with the new equipment, you can go out and recover a body possibly within the hour.

Teter says that saved time is important in this tough process.

“People want closure and they need closure and that’s what we want to be able to do is facilitate and expedite that as much as we can.”

The state has invested in 10 devices, each one costing around $3,000. We are just the 15th state to have this advanced sonar.