MBPD could purchase sonar equipment for search and recovery oper - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

MBPD could purchase sonar equipment for search and recovery operations

The Myrtle Beach Police Department is seeking some new equipment to help with search and recovery operations when swimmers and boaters go missing in bodies of water. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) The Myrtle Beach Police Department is seeking some new equipment to help with search and recovery operations when swimmers and boaters go missing in bodies of water. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The Myrtle Beach Police Department is seeking new equipment to help with search and recovery operations when swimmers and boaters go missing in bodies of water.

It's a piece of equipment police don't want to have to bring out in many cases, but the side-scan sonar can take an image of the landscape in the ocean, the waterway and even ponds and lakes. It sees what the eyes cannot, and paints a clear picture of what is below the surface.

Sgt. Philip Cain said the MBPD is hoping to get one side-scan sonar that will be moved from boat to boat depending on the department's needs.

The sonar will be towed in the water beside or behind the boat.

The sonar technology the department currently uses on boats during search and rescue or recovery is in the center of the boat, according to Cain, and it doesn’t give a very clear picture. 

The side-scan sonar gives a picture so clear, Cain said officers will know if they have found what they are looking for. 

Unfortunately, in many cases, the equipment will be used to recover bodies of missing swimmers or boaters more quickly, but that is not its only use.

"In most cases, this may be used in emergency situations, but I can see non-emergency uses too,” explained Mark Kruea, spokesperson for the city of Myrtle Beach. “For example, we have a lot of bodies of water. We want to know what the bottom looks like, whether it's silted in, whether there's something that has gotten lost down there, whether we're placing pipe, for example. So there are other uses for this device."

The equipment will cost $23,000. Half of the cost will be paid for with money the MBPD got when it sold older jet skis and a boat earlier this year. The other half will come from federal drug-seizure funds.

Myrtle Beach City Council has the ultimate say, though. An ordinance will have to be passed to approve the purchase. The first reading will be Tuesday, June 27.

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