05 February, 2015

Why do first responders prefer hovercraft to rescue boats?

With warmer weather ahead, first responders will soon be occupied with water and flood rescues. Unfortunately, too many fire departments and other rescue agencies are still relying on boats rather than hovercraft for water rescue operations.

Why would they need a hovercraft if they already have rescue boats? Here’s a quick video that helps answer that question. The Napoleon, Ohio Fire Department’s Neoteric hovercraft rescues not only a family stuck in a boat on the Maumee River – they also rescue the first responders whose boats became stuck or damaged in the shallow water!

The river was too shallow for the first rescue boat and it became stuck; the rocks clipped the propellers of the second rescue boat - turning this simple rescue into a three-hour ordeal.

Flat bottom Jon boats and other propeller-driven watercraft are of little use in shallow water or in flood water; debris and obstructions can not only damage rescue boats, but can pose a serious danger to first responders and to those whose lives they are tasked to save.

But don't just take our word for it. Read what just a few of our customers have to say about hovercraft versus rescue boats ...

Norman Township Fire Department, Michigan: "We perform water and ice rescues on the rapidly running, narrow, difficult to access Pine River, with rocks, downed trees and steep banks. We considered purchasing a jet boat, but its problems were quickly apparent when, during the company demo, rocks in the river caused the jet boat to break down."

Central Fraser Valley Search & Rescue Society, Canada: "The hovercraft gets us into areas that before we weren't able to reach, areas that our jet boat can't get into because we ingest debris into the impeller. And the hovercraft saves us a lot of time."

Mansfield Fire Department, Texas: "The benefit of having these hovercraft is we do not have to send our personnel into the water to retrieve victims. They're also able to hover over logs, car tires and any other debris, unlike boats, that could be a hazard in the water."

Roswell Fire Department, Georgia: "On low water, our aluminum boat can only go so far. With the hovercraft, we can travel over rocks, shallow water, sandbars."

Snohomish County Fire District 19, Washington: "At the bridge collapse, there was a lot of debris in the water. Boats weren't able to get into the wreckage, but we were able to hover back and forth through the debris and search for victims. We don't have to worry about what's underneath us."

First responders, come experience for yourself how a hovercraft can operate in conditions that prohibit the use of rescue boats - keeping you above the danger, not in it ...


Learn more about Neoteric Rescue Hovercraft

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