Each year there are thousands of swimmers, tubers, rafters, kayakers and fishermen enjoy recreational activities on the waterways of the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers in Jefferson County. Often overlooked is what occurs when something goes wrong on the water. That is a topic that no one ever wants to contemplate, but unfortunate incidents happen far too often.
Fortunately there is a group of dedicated people that will give aide in time of need. There are many rescue teams that are specially trained to help those needing assistance when a water emergency occurs.
One such team is based here at the Bakerton Fire Department.
The team operates two (2) rescue boats which are pulled to an incident scene by Utility 7 and Serv 7.
If you are interested in joining our team, please reach out to us through the contact form.
Boat 7 is a Zodiac F470 inflatable craft and saw previous service with the US Navy. It is powered by an Evinrude 30 HP pumpjet outboard motor. (not pictured)
On loan from River Riders Outfitters in Harpers Ferry is a 3 person inflatable raft.
Boat 7-2 is a flat bottom aluminum hulled jet drive craft and was originally designed as a recreational craft, built in Alaska for shallow, rocky rivers. Although it looks like a jet ski, it is classified as a boat.
The original boat was placed in service in Aug 2015 and proved itself as a valuable asset for rescues and searches on the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers. Attached to the rear of the boat is a Wahoo Rescue Sled, enabling easier victim-in-the-water rescues. This type of set-up (but using jet-skis) has been used for many years in surf rescue. In Aug 2018, the original boat, the Alumaski, was sold to New Hope Eagle Fire Co in PA and is in service on the Delaware River. This allowed us to upgrade to the Alumapro, redefined specifically for rescue.
Currently, these two boats are the only craft of this type in service on the East coast.
These are the only water rescue craft available in Jefferson County.
Swift Water Technicians respond to all water related emergencies on the Potomac and Shenandoah Rivers in Jefferson County.
Our team will respond to neighboring Frederick and Washington Counties in Maryland, Berkeley County in West Virginia and Loudoun County in Virginia when our assistance is requested. We have also been placed on deployment stand-by for flooding in other parts of the state.
Through mutual-aid agreements we either support or receive support from Boat 11 (Potomac Valley Vol. Fire Company), Boat 919 (Brunswick Ambulance & Rescue) Boat 20 (Washington County Special Operations Team) and Boat 90 (Berkeley County Office of Emergency Services).
Swift Water Team members are trained to respond to any location where they may be needed during all types of weather conditions.
Our Swiftwater Rescue Technicians are trained to the standards of the NFPA, in addition to many hours of ongoing training drills for skill building and skill retention.
Members of the Swift Water Team are also required to take the West Virginia Boaters Safety Course.
You can take the course online at the link below: