VideoRay Remotely Operated Vehicle Obtained by Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office in Michigan, USA for Underwater Inspection, Safety, and Security
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office Dive Unit, based in West Olive, Michigan, USA, is responsible for water-related incidents within Ottawa County such as drowning, near drowning, evidence, and stolen property recoveries. The divers are trained to dive in poor conditions such as zero visibility, under the ice, in river currents, and night dives.
The divers are equipped with dry suits and full-face AGA masks, as well as wireless diver-to-surface communication in order to keep the divers as safe as possible. To further aid in the location of items underwater, the dive team utilizes side scan sonar, an underwater camera, an underwater metal detector, and now the latest ROV technology from VideoRay.
With the addition of a VideoRay Pro 4 PS ROV System (a system specifically configured for underwater Port Security and Law Enforcement applications), the Sheriff Divers will have an added safety and security measure, not to mention the ability to quickly deploy for inspection (or even recovery) in emergency situations.
The Ottawa County Sheriff’s VideoRay ROV Configuration was delivered with the Pro 4 Submersible (depth rated to 1,000 ft (305 m) and weighing around 13 lbs without accessories), Pro 4 Control Panel which integrates all of the accessory software, ROV software and controls, viewing monitors, and hand controller into one lightweight Pelican 1550 hard case, a Manipulator Arm for evidence (and sometimes victim) retrieval, an integrated 15” Daylight Viewable Video Monitor, and 630 ft total (190 m) of segmented plug and play tether (as opposed to one continuous length – segmented tether is preferred in the event that something happens to one segment, you can simply replace it with another in the field without having to scrap your mission).
Because the visibility in the lakes of Ottawa County can be quite poor, the ROV system was enhanced with navigation and location aids including a P900-90 MultiBeam Imaging Sonar, the Smart Tether Non-Acoustic ROV Positioning System , and a LYYN Real Time Video Enhancement feature.
To ensure Ottawa County’s ROV Pilots success in all underwater environments and conditions, the system was delivered with five days of training administered by Dave Phillips, a Certified VideoRay Trainer and Undersheriff from St. Louis County, Minnesota, who has been using VideoRay ROVs in the same manner as Ottawa County will for the last 8 years. Phillips, along with the St. Louis County Rescue Squad, has located and recovered several under ice drowning victims using just the VideoRay ROV.
According to Phillips, “Public safety dive teams nationwide and worldwide are utilizing technologies and ROVs more and more for underwater search, rescue, and recovery operations. The VideoRay Pro 4 ROV offers a robust platform that can carry sonar, positioning tether, and other accessories. This complements dive team operations by reducing diver bottom-time and fatigue, while giving dive team leaders “eyes on” for underwater operations. The Ottawa County Dive team will be utilizing this equipment as part of dive and side scan sonar operations as a tool to help resolve underwater conflicts quickly and safely.”
Ottawa County Sheriff’s Dive Unit during training. All members get their hands on the ROV system controls and pilot in different types of scenarios.
Officers Krieg Brace and Mark VanDenBerg pilot the ROV in a quarry during training.
Ottawa County Sheriff’s Dive Unit – Left to Right: Sgt. Cal Kauning, Sgt. Keith Koeman, Officer Krieg Brace, Officer Mark VanDenBerg, Officer Sara Fillman.