Rescue Water Craft

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Rescue Water Craft or RWC's are commonly referred to as Personal Water Craft or PWC's. This is the recreational terminology. For the purpose of occupational duty work we define these unique small power craft as 'Rescue Water Craft'.


Work in shallow waterways/zones

Work inside and outside of surf zones

Open Water


Flood conditions

Calm water operations


Homeland security-surveillance

Air deployment from fixed wing aircraft or rotary

Towsurfing (recreational)

Marine life studies, monitoring and recovery

Fisheries (recreational/occupational)

Disaster management

Debris removal

Mass waterborne evacuation using ancillary towable devices during flood stages

Aquatic habitat maintenance

Special events-officiating/umpires/referees

Search and rescue

Film/Media platform

Law enforcement

Rehabilitation for Wounded Warriors and physically challenged

Scientific studies, geographic/surveys

Organized competitions

Safety use for various specialized recreational events

  • Note: Variables apply to safety and water/weather/debris/hazards, type of RWC employed, set up and training/experience capabilities of crew or staffing.

Rescue Water Craft Can Have the Following Limitations

RWC’s are fundamentally designed as recreational watercraft and is not specifically designed as a rescue or patrol vessel. Use caution to operate a RWC in a manner consistent with the scope of training, operator qualification, and manufacturer recommendations must be observed at all times.

Weight Capacity (Up to 530lbs on 3 person capacity 2002+ models, we will overload)

Can capsize or sink/flood engine or storage compartments, lose/break/damage seats or hoods/latches

Limited equipment storage capacity, weight restricted

Limited crew capability

Operator lack of knowledge of situational awareness of craft efficiency and safe operations (Human Error)

Limited on board deck space for crew and patient(s)

Rescue board device changes trim capacity of vessel dynamics

Has a maximum towing load depending upon towed vessel size and environment

Has a specified underway range in transits due to fuel usage and weight load

Danger if operators and crew are not properly trained, outfitted and vetted

Risk exists if vessels are not properly maintained or retired when need be


Rescue Water Craft can be used in the following waterways due to their hull designs and jet pump technology. These vessels are highly maneuverable and can navigate where traditional vessels cannot operate due to certain conditions:

Open Water

Surf line/Impact Zone (6-8 Foot Wave height maximum)

Shallow Water Habitats

Flood Control Channels (seasonal conditions apply)

Swift water (scale of difficulty rated in classes)

Lake or pond

Special Use-amusement parks, movie sets (man made facilities)

Floods (flushing, standing or receding)


Personal watercraft were not designed for night usage. Only a few states allow PWC's to be operated after dark using approved navigational aids. For the purposes of patrol, surveillance and SAR however with highly trained operators and in specified conditions night operations are a vital part of law enforcement, military usage and SAR capabilities.

Night Operations training has lead to an increased level of expertise in some locations and conditions. These boats are able to maneuver in tight quarters and confined spaces. Chem Lights (glo-sticks), Night Vision Goggles (NOG's), waterproof helmet lights affixed to water safety helmets are advised. It is NOT advised to use white beam lights on the forward section of a RWC. The movement of the craft and mist off the surface of water creates a strobe effect or a white out effect causing loss of night vision and creates a hazardous risk to the operator and craft. Likewise it is not advised for shore based support teams to aim a bright light to the surface of the water, but sideshore. (Note: K38 training practices


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