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By land or lake, MCSO deputies are ready

Published: May. 20, 2022 at 5:48 PM EDT
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FT. MCCOY, Fla. (WCJB) - By land or lake, the Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) is ready to respond to the county’s most remote corners. On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for about six years now.

On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for...
On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for about six years now.(WCJB)
On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for...
On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for about six years now.(WCJB)

“It allows us to get into shallow water, swampy areas,” dive team Commander, Sgt. Doug Watts said.

There’s also a polymer on the bottom of the boat Watts said, that helps prevent the vessel from being damaged by tree stumps, roots, or rocks, so it can also be used on dry land.

“The airboat can go just about anywhere you want it to go.”

Once a month the dive team with the MCSO is sent out for in the field training. This time, the unit was assigned a recovery mission to test out a new ‘basket’ with the aviation unit.

“The dive team is often called to go dive in these types of conditions,” Watts said.

On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for...
On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for about six years now.(WCJB)
On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for...
On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for about six years now.(WCJB)
On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for...
On Friday, deputies practiced their craft with the agency’s airboat, which they’ve owned for about six years now.(WCJB)

Memorial Day has come to represent the unofficial start of summer. This training will help deputies save people who are out enjoying the season and catch fugitives on the run.

“With Marion County as large as it is, and as much water it has and woods, folks go out and explore and sometimes they get lost,” Watts said. “Sometimes we’re tracking fugitives through these conditions, so we need to be able to have a boat like this to be able to deploy those areas to go capture somebody or go help somebody.”

By the end of our time with the dive team, the missing mannequin was found and airlifted to shore. It’s mission accomplished in our book.

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