Personal Water Craft (PWC)

pwc2Personal Watercraft as a tool in surface and diving operations.

Personal watercrafts (PWC’s) today are one of the most effective rapid response rescue tools available. They allow rescuers an ease of deployment and quick launching. They can be used as transport vessels for diving operations with limited boats. For surface rescues, such as overturned boats, person-overboard, person caught on a rock in a river, and medical emergency on a boat, the PWC can reach victims extremely rapidly. This is invaluable when time means the difference between life and death.

PWC can:
1. transport a driver and rescuer out to a possible life saving situation while victims are still at the surface.
2. move equipment back and forth.
3. move personnel back and forth
4. be attached to a PWC rescue tow sled that can transport an injured or weak victim.
5. be used to assist in evacuation operations during floods (we have found the MARSARS sled to be the best for the money).
6. with sufficient training be very useful in swiftwater rescues if personnel cruise in very shallow water where a boat cannot normally go
7. be used in lakes, ponds, rivers, ocean, and basically almost every type of water
8. very rapidly bring a paramedic or other EMS personnel to victims in boats, on rocks, or on other platforms in the water.

The overall effectiveness of the PWC is enhanced by the manufacturer professional loaner programs. The program works through your local PWC dealer and it allows your department to borrow personal watercrafts for extended periods of time. There is no fee for this program. Teams have to return the crafts in the condition they were received in, and therefore are financially responsible for maintenance and repair work. The only actual cost becomes a trailer, maintenance and fuel. Rescue companies around the world have found PWCs to be a worthwhile addition to their water rescue operations.

We at Lifeguard Systems have been using them for a few seasons, and at this point feel we would be lost without them. We use them in a variety of surface and diving training programs.

Like any rescue tool they require rescue training. The negative is that without reasonable training, people think that they can jump on them and make them work very quickly. Their ease of use is their single negative. People think often feel that in 15 minutes they they are expert operators because they can ride them fast and spin them around. Effective PWC rescue training is necessary to use PWC safely, properly, and effectively. The greatest expense comes from repairs, but in most cases, repairs stem from improper and unsafe use and poor maintenance.

If you have any questions about PWC use or training please do not hesitate to contact us.

Walt Butch Hendrick, Lifeguard Systems

Merry Richey
Public Affairs
Kawasaki Motor Corp.
P.O. Box 25252
Santa Ana, CA

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