NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — The North Myrtle Beach Rescue Squad unveiled its new amphibious boat on Tuesday.
Getting the new boat has been in the works since 2017. Members of the rescue squad said it’ll help increase deployment to emergency scenes.
“It’s got equipment on it, technology that we have never had before at the North Myrtle Beach Rescue Squad,” Greg Richardson, boat captain and public information officer for the North Myrtle Beach Rescue Squad, said.
It’s a 2022 amphibious rigid hull inflatable boat that can also function like a car. This allows the North Myrtle Beach Rescue Squad to go from driving on the beach to floating in the water.
“We don’t have to bring a trailer on the beach, back it in the water, unload a boat, move the trailer, turn the boat around and then take off,” Richardson said.
The new boat also comes with new equipment, including sonar.
“It will depict an outline for us that tells us what a shape looks like and we could possibly recover a body, or we could find a sunken jet ski or a boat like that,” he said.
Costing roughly $270,000, Richardson said the boat was purchased by the community, for the community, through the volunteer rescue squad.
“The community trusts us with donations and we [want to] make sure we spend those correctly and in providing a service that’s needed,” he said.
The boat can pick up as many as eight people, which is faster and more efficient compared to using three to four jet ski crews. Richardson also said it could be used for flooding in areas like Cherry Grove.
“We get called on when the flooding is major, whether it’s after a tropical storm or after a king tide,” he said. “There are some people that become trapped, well, if there’s a car trapped, we can drive this through the water.”
Richardson said the boat should be in service within the next two weeks. He hopes to have at least six rescue squad members qualified to captain the boat.
The rescue squad’s current boat is about 20 years old. Richardson said the department will continue to utilize it until it starts costing too much money to maintain as a backup.