Most Viewed Stories
Sheriff's office gets airboat - with video
Yuma County sheriff's deputies can now travel where no watercraft has taken them before. A newly acquired airboat will help deputies patrol shallow areas of the Colorado River.
"It's a great resource," said Maj. Leon Wilmot of the Yuma County Sheriff's Office. "We can do a number of different responses by finding missing people on the Colorado River, drowning victims or boating accidents."
The airboat's flat underside makes it possible for law enforcement officials to get across the sandy shallow areas of the lower Colorado River, he said. It is also great for deploying emergency dive team members to find missing people people on the river and transport first aid medical personnel to save victims.
Also with the airboat, law enforcement officials have the ability to patrol areas anywhere from Laguna Dam to Morelos Dam.
Before, the YCSO tried everything from jet skis to motor boats to patrol along the river but none of those resources were as effective as the airboat.
"This is the first vessel that we can actually work on the lower Colorado River," said Lt. Darren Simmons of YCSO.
Now, with the new airboat YCSO deputies can also carry up to six people, including the airboat operator. The airboat has the ability to carry drowning victims to their safety.
"It's more expedient and a way to get there quicker with whatever the case may be, whether it be someone drowning or any type of accident," Wilmot, spokesman for the YCSO, said.
With the airboat, law enforcement officials are ensuring that all boating laws are being enforced and also keeping an eye on immense boating traffic that can cause accidents, Simmons said.
"Just the presence (of the airboat) slows a lot of them down," he said.
The YCSO was able to purchase the airboat with a grant received from Arizona State Parks.
The airboat is from Coco, Fla., and is estimated to cost about $42,000. It has the capability to run up to 70 mph, said Simmons. But the airboat is usually traveling about 35 to 40 mph along the lower Colorado River, he said.
"It's a very valuable platform," Simmons said. "With this we can now come down and do some patrolling."