Search and rescue: Submerged casualty

Control Measure Knowledge

A search and rescue of a submerged casualty may be possible by using the equipment available while operating within the parameters of personnel competence and capabilities, either on the water, in the water or from the land. An assessment of the incident should determine what level of intervention is required and a request for the most appropriate resource should be made at the earliest opportunity.

Examples of equipment that can be used at water search and rescue:

  • Reach poles and attachments
  • Bathyscope
  • Sonar equipment
  • Cameras
  • Underwater drones

Deploying personnel under the hierarchy of risk (rescue formula) may adequately provide the options appropriate for providing a rescue capability within the parameters of legislation, training, and competence.

If a rescue cannot be achieved, it may be necessary to apply the survivability model to inform the decision to cease rescue operations and help inform the actions of oncoming responders. For more information refer to Apply the survivability model: Water rescue.

At the point that a rescue cannot be achieved, the incident commander should request the attendance of the police, if they are not already at the incident, and establish functional cordons. For more information refer to Cordon controls: Water rescue.

Strategic Actions

Tactical Actions