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Colorado River Station Acquires New 'SARbot' to Assist in Rescue & Recovery

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Our public safety rescue efforts on the Colorado River have been significantly enhanced, thanks to a new grant awarded to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department’s Marine Enforcement Unit.

The department, based out of the Colorado River Station in Needles, recently purchased a remotely operated BlueLink SARbot, which can reach depths over 200 feet deep. The grant was provided to the Marine Enforcement Unit by the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways.

“The unit responds to numerous boat accidents every year where victims drown, and search operations are conducted,” said Sergeant Travis Vessells. “The SARbot will be a valuable tool in locating and recovering victims as well as providing evidence documentation.”

According to BlueLink, the ROV not only can search the waterways with its sonar, high-definition camera and LED lighting, but it can also be used to retrieve victims far below the water’s surface with a remote gripper and tether.

Vessells said the new unit will increase diver safety by reducing diver fatigue during long operations. The Sheriff’s Dive Team not only responds to incidents in San Bernardino County, but also throughout  California’s Office of Emergency Services Region 6.

“The Marine Enforcement Unit personnel received training on the use of the ROV last week and are very excited about its potential,” Vessells added.