Larger Area Rapid Deployment Search and Rescue / Recovery

Large Area Rapid Deployment Search & Rescue


You’ve had RDS&R/R training and know how to find a dime in muck-bottomed blackwater. But now, the situation has escalated. The lake is 32 miles long and 6 miles wide. The witnesses said they saw the boat overturn somewhere “out there.” Two kids are missing. What do you do?

What can you do in the first 60-90 minutes to make this a rescue operation? And if the victims are not found in that golden hour, what should you do to make this a safe and efficient recovery operation?

This course will train you to plan and execute large area search rescue and recovery operations.

1. First, learn how to use advanced witness interviewing techniques with map drawing, vessel trajectories, given’s about the body of water, etc. to narrow the search area.
2. Next, practice the skills necessary to rapidly deploy a buoy grid system in the designated search area.
3. Then, learn the art of hurricane anchoring, a three anchor system, to keep the dive platform in place no matter how hard the diver pulls. Not only will you be able to keep the vessel in place, but you will be able to anchor the vessel in any specific location, which will be checked by DGPS. Plus DGPS will be taught as an alternative, procedure to a buoy grid system.
4. Lastly, the team will learn how to search a 25,000 to 35,000 square foot are in a single day, without ever once starting the motor of the dive vessel. This will be documented with profile maps and DGPS.
5. If there is more than ten feet visibility, and the divers are skilled, then sled training can be added to the course.
6. For multi-day operations, your team will learn how to pick up the buoy grid system at the end of the day, and replace it in the same location the next morning.

Minimum Course Hours: 30, Average Course hours 33.

Prerequisites: Lifeguard Systems Rapid Deployment Search & Rescue I or Rapid Deployment Ice Diving Rescue/Recovery

Minimum Age: 18 or 16 with permission of instructor and guardian.

Maximum number of students with minimum of 2 Instructors and one divemaster:

20 divers plus ten surface personnel   (never more than 4 divers in the water at any time)

Maximum Depth: 50 feet

Minimum number of dives for certification: 4 successful, 15-25 minute, logged dives per diver. Each student must serve as a tender for a minimum of 3 dives.

Course set-up and costs: Same as for RDS&R/R.

Day one: 4 hours of lecture

1. Review of Rapid Deployment Search & Rescue protocols, standards, contingency plans, SOPs

2. Review of drowning and hypothermia physiology and patient handling

3. Advanced witness interviewing techniques and procedures

4. Where to begin search & how to hard copy all information

5. Proper site set-up – laying buoys, profiling, personnel management

6. Safety procedures for large area search

7. Necessary equipment including U/W sleds if visibility permits

8. Review of boat handling and hurricane anchoring procedures

9. Surface map making

10. Boat movement in large area searches

Day Two: 1-2 hours lecture followed by 6-9 hours of on-site boat and dive operations

Lecture: pre-hospital patient handling: extrication from water onto a boat, handling during boat transport, transport procedures from boat to ambulance, patent management in route to the hospital.

1. Review rapid dressing techniques

2. Check boats for readiness

3. Set up search area 2000′ x 1000′ with buoys

4. Quadrant off search areas within the large area

5. Learn how to move boat within and between quadrants without starting engine

6. Practice anchoring, deploying divers and searching for objects

Debriefing: what was learned, what needs to be improved, plan for next day.

Day Three: On site all day following 30 min to 1 hour lecture.

1. Set up search area with quadrants using maps and profiles created on day two.

2. Sled techniques – if more than 30’ visibility only. If yes, then search for objects with underwater sleds

3. Continue practicing anchoring and profiling boat location

4. Contingency plan dives: diver entanglement on underwater sled

5. Contingency plan dives: diver out of air on underwater sled

6. More boat and dive search operations

Day Four: On site all day, followed by written examination indoors.

1. Team will respond in rescue mode as if it was an actual call to find a drowning victim.

2. Interview staff witnesses

3. Make hard copy profiles and maps with witness information and plan area of search

4. Set up large area search

5. Look for drowned mannequin

6. Complete paperwork and debrief

Written examination followed by exam and program debriefing.

Course Cost:

Our Fee is $4250 plus two hotel rooms for three nights (which are usually donated by the hotel). Note: Some staff travel expenses may need to be added to the course fee depending on location.  This includes:

* wall certificates for all students,
* Photo ID ANDI/LGS certification card for all divers who successfully complete the course (Tender certification cards and diver PADI, NAUI, and ACUC certification cards are also available on an individual basis at an extra cost)
* use of lines, harnesses, knives, communication systems, full face masks, carabiners, pony bottles and harnesses, pony regulators, contingency lines and other gear during the program
* at least 30 hours of training
* assistance filling the program
* tender-diver laminated signal cards for each diver & tender
* continuing education credit if desired