Boone County Water Rescue is a group of over 50 dedicated volunteers who work more than 12,000 hours annually in water rescue and recovery activities. The team is currently a division of Boone County Emergency Management and administered on a not-for-profit basis by the Boone County (KY) Fiscal Court and receives funding from the fiscal courts of Boone, Kenton and Campbell Counties. The team is available 24/7 to all governmental agencies.
Since its origin in 1967, the foundation of the team has been based on its diving abilities. In addition to the general diver certification, each diver is trained under a public safety diver program and also as a search and rescue diver. Our Public Safety Divers use commercial dive equipment to include HAZMAT rated dry suits, Kirby Morgan 37 Dive Helmets or Ocean Technology System Dive Masks. Safety is of the utmost importance, so our divers use surface supplied air, allowing them to have an unlimited amount of air available to them while working underwater in zero visibility.
The most visual part of the team is its water rescue units. The team uses several types of boats and vessels. General purpose work and rescue boats are used for lakes and rivers. These boats are easily transported and can be disbursed throughout Northern Kentucky and beyond. The pride of the water rescue vessels are boats 219 and 220. These boats are fully equipped with state-of the-art sonar, radar, and communications, which dramatically increase the capability and efficiency of these vessels for any type of water rescue or recovery. Boone County Water Rescue is responsible for patrolling over 83 miles of the Ohio River.
Boone County Water Rescue offers many services to its surrounding geographical areas and other states: water safety programs, boat patrols, evidence collection, vehicle, aircraft recovery and victim recovery. No other governmental body in the region provides such an array of services for boaters.
The team’s capabilities include the use of the most sophisticated electronic equipment on the market – several different types of side scan sonars, remote operated vehicles (ROVs), and underwater cameras. The side scan sonar not only reduces the risk to divers but has made recovery efforts faster. Systems include the ability to transmit (wirelessly) the video image and side scan sonar imaging to other boats and land-based operations. These systems have been instrumental in locating victims, automobiles, barges, boats, weapons and just about anything under the water.
The Boone County Water Rescue team is proud of their various associations with neighboring counties, states and manufacturers that have been in place for over 50 years. The team is ready to respond to any water rescue emergency effort at any time, in any place. They are prepared, knowledgeable and proud to serve their communities.
One of the primary goals continues to be the recovery of drowning victims as quickly as possible to bring closure to families suffering from the loss of a loved one. As communities grow and water activities increase, more volunteers, training and equipment will be needed. If you are interested in becoming a member of the crew or a diver for the team, your participation is welcome. Each person on the team makes a difference and working together makes a difference in the community.