Honda AquaTrax units aid search and rescue efforts

Since 2002, Honda AquaTrax personal watercraft (PWC) have been used by dozens of municipalities, marine research laboratories, and marine mammal rescue organizations throughout the country. When the City of Coronado, California received a Honda AquaTrax personal watercraft for their search and rescue efforts at Coronado Beach, Lifeguard Captain Sean Carey was enthused.

"The Honda AquaTrax will become an immediate part of our life saving operations," said Carey. "The AquaTrax has many benefits over traditional craft and it allows us to respond quickly to a life threatening situation." The Hondas were also treasured because of their quiet, low-emissions, four-stroke engines. "That's important because we have to operate daily in environmentally-sensitive areas," Carey said.

Lifeguards from the Los Angeles County Fire Department use their Hondas to patrol the 72 miles of coastline in the Santa Monica Bay. Veteran lifeguard Tom Seth related a story of the AquaTrax's utility in heavy surf at Manhattan Beach, as reported by the community newspaper, Easy Reader. "The surf carried up to 15-foot faces," he said. "That day only a handful of surfers attempted to go out." The rough waves caught two surfers unprepared. After riding his AquaTrax to the first surfer and confirming he was OK, Seth towed his rescue sled to the second surfer who was unable to escape the pounding surf and towed him to deeper water. "We didn't even take another wave," said Seth. "The speed of the PWC got us right out of there." Of the AquaTrax's versatility, he noted, "We've got a new a tool. Our department is able to take advantage of the capabilities of the personal watercraft to help protect lives."

In northern California, the sheriff's departments of Amador County, El Dorado County and Placer County use Honda AquaTrax units to patrol the many lakes and rivers popular with local recreationists. In an article published by the Amador Ledger Dispatch, Captain Glenn Humphries of the Amador County Sheriff's Office noted, "A good deal of the program is educational. They're a great tool for making contact with the public." The AquaTrax units bring officers in close proximity to boaters and other PWC users to provide safety advice and curb reckless behavior. "Basically, we're on them 10 hours a day," he said.

In Camas, Washington, the police department's Marine Patrol Unit uses their AquaTrax PWCs to monitor boating activity on Lacamas Lake, a popular recreation destination for Portland-Vancouver area residents. In a story published by The Columbian newspaper, police chief Don Chaney said that boaters have asked for safety patrols on the lake for years to stem illegal drinking, speeding, noise and reckless boating. He noted that residents have complimented the officers on their patrols. "Hopefully, the people will realize we're here and refrain from misbehaving."

Across the country along the Emerald Coast of northwest Florida, the South Walton Fire District is quite happy with their Honda AquaTrax units. "It's a good tool to have in rough environments when there're multiple people (being rescued)," said Fire Chief John Fitch to reporter Amy Leigh Womack with the Santa Rosa Daily News. Walton County's 27 miles of coastline include Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach, Grayton Beach and Rosemary Beach; all four are heavily used by residents and tourists. Fitch noted, "The equipment is doing the work instead of the rescuers getting tired out."

Honda AquaTrax units are currently in use at a number of public safety agencies across the U.S., including:
1. Alameda County Sheriff's Office, CA
2. Amador County Sheriff's Department, CA
3. Big Bear Municipal Water District, CA
4. Black Warrior Waterkeepers, Birmingham, AL
5. Camas Marine Patrol Unit, Washington
6. Coalition for Buzzard's Bay, New Bedford, MA
7. Catawba Riverkeepers, Charlotte, NC
8. City of Clearwater, FL
9. Columbia Riverkeepers, Bingen, WA
10. City of Coronado, CA
11. El Dorado County Sheriff's Office, CA
12. Hackensack Riverkeepers, NJ
13. Indian River County, FL
14. Isleton Police Department, CA
15. Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Div., FL
16. Marco Island, FL
17. Muskegon Riverkeepers, MI
18. Napa County Sheriff's Dept., CA
19. Neuse River Foundation, New Bern, NC
20. Panama City, FL
21. Patapsco Riverkeepers, Oella, MO
22. Placer County Sheriff's Office, CA
23. San Mateo County, CA
24. Santa Cruz County, CA
25. City of Sanibel, FL
26. City of Santa Monica, FL
27. Southern California Coastal Water Research Project
28. City of South Lake Tahoe, CA
29. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Mendocino, CA
30. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Lake Sonoma, CA
31. U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, San Pedro, CA

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