Water Rescue Operations – Purpose

Establish a recognized professional water rescue component for Washington County. The County has two major water ways that over a million visitors a year enjoy for recreational purposes. The boat program will be the only rapid response boat rescue program servicing our area. Our goal is to be able to deploy a functional boat program to any area of our county within 5 minutes and have it on site within 15 minutes.

The primary purpose of the program is to access, assess, and treat anyone who may become injured, stranded, or need assistance on the waterways or during a flood within our jurisdiction. In 2010 Washington County EMS became the second EMS Department to be responding partner of the world famous Texas Task Force 1 (TXTF).  The department spends countless hours assuring proper preparedness whether it’s training at Lake Somerville, the Brazos River, or on out of State Task Force training exercises, we believe that if advertised you must be able to perform.  The SOD Water Rescue Paramedics recently worked with the US Coast Guard on search and rescue missions involving long duration search patterns and coastal water deployments.

The secondary goal is to be able to provide assistance to any public safety department  such as the Sheriffs Office, TPWD, or any other department who may require a boat to access or perform certain job related duties (such as a search for potential victims or violators).


The Special operations divisions division will not stray from our belief that training is paramount for these special operations. The water rescue operations will be no exception. The boat operator does not necessarily have to be an EMS employee. However, only an EMS employee will be authorized to trailer/tow the boat unless authorized by WCEMS Command Staff. The County departments are small therefore, it’s important to allow other public safety departments the opportunity to assist in these operations. For that reason we gladly welcome any Fire Department, LEO, or other public safety department into our training opportunities and SWRT-Boat Rescue Program. However, we do not believe lowering any standards benefits the program and in fact may risk ultimate failure. Any department wishing to assist with staffing will be required to complete the same standards set as listed below. The boat will be deployed at all times with a “Boat Operator” and a WCEMS “Rescue Paramedic.”

The rescue paramedics (RP’s) who staff the boat during response are required to successful complete the following requirements

  • Completion of WCEMS SPECOPS Orientation training program for Water Rescue Operations by SPECOPS Lieutenant.

  • Maintain Special Operations P.T. standards including the swim component of 300 meters/8 min.

  • Successful Completion of Rescue Clearance To Practice (RCTP) Competency Forms and Position Task Book (PTB) that apply to the Swift Water Rescue Division.

  • Successful Completion of the departments Zodiac Hypalon Boat In-service Training

  • Applicable (open/swift) Boat Operators Course

  • Technician level knowledge and competency as outlined by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for Swift Water Rescue Technician Level Training.

  • Technical level knowledge and competency as outlined by National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for High Angle Rescue Level Training.

Crew Configuration

Unlike some water rescue boat teams our program will always have the ability to deliver the highest level of pre-hospital care in the State of Texas. One rescue paramedic within the division will ALWAYS accompany the boat in any response mode (recovery, search, rescue, evacuation, etc..). A minimum of 2 BRT Members are required for daytime operations and 3 BRT Members for night operations.


  • BO – Boat Operator
  • AB – Agile Bowman
  • RS – Rescue Swimmer