The Remote Operated Submersible Vehicle has aided the Underwater Search & Recovery team on many assignments. Although it cannot perform a structured search like a diver can, the ROV can reduce the required manpower for an asignment. The ROV allows for non-stop searching of an area without air and time restrictions placed on divers and diver fatigue. When the object of the search is located by the ROV, the divers can use the "umbilical" cable of the ROV to bring them directly to the area for necessary recovery and documentation of the site.
The NCPD ROV is a Phantom 300 made by Deep Ocean Engineering, Inc. It has a color camera connected to a color monitor utilizing a 250 foot "umbilical" cable. The ROV is controlled by 3 thrusters for maneuverability. It has one thruster for vertical movement and 2 thrusters for its forward, backward, left and right movements.
Unfortunately, the ROV is restricted by the same dilemma that divers experience . . . . poor water clarity and the inability to "see" underwater. In these cases, the ROV cannot be used and the divers must spend long tedious hours "feeling" there way along the bottom or through the water. In many of the assignments, however, the ROV is successfully used to search large areas in open water where the visibility is usually acceptable and where the unit can be effectively deployed.
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