Underwater Search and Recovery Unit (AKA Dive Team)

Peel Regional Police has had a team of highly trained divers working in the underwater search and recovery unit for over 30 years.

Each diver on the team is certified to meet the Diver Certification Board of Canada’s standards and equipped to meet the Policing Adequacy Standards, Canadian Standards Association (C.S.A.) and Ontario Regulation of Diving Operations in order to operate at the depths and in the circumstances where the submerged diver is operating.

The divers on this team work full time in other units with Peel Regional Police but when required, are to be available for 24 hour call-out.

Divers with the underwater search and recovery unit are requested to assist police investigations in the following ways;

  1. Search and recovery of missing persons.
  2. Search and recovery of submerged evidence relating to criminal offences.
  3. Photographing, videotaping and documenting details of underwater crime scenes.
  4. Assisting in the investigation of industrial accidents and aircraft crashes in or around the water.
  5. Assisting in the investigation of swimming, diving and boating accidents. In the waters contained within the jurisdictional boundaries of the Region of Peel.

The team dives wearing full scuba gear including a vulcanized rubber variable volume dry-suit with full face mask/helmet and communications capability.

As the unit generally uses surface supply equipment, the comprehensive system includes a full encapsulated suit and helmet pneumofathometer, an umbilical with air supplied from the surface, communication system and a bailout tank with pressure gauge in tandem with all of the other required system parts.  

There is a full gamut of safety equipment used while conducting diving operations including diving harness, safety line, personal floatation devices and dive flags.

For searches, the dive team uses waterproof lighting equipment and strobes, battiscope, underwater remote operated vehicle, sonar, metal detectors and a variety of other very useful tools to assist with investigations.

Not a strong swimmer? Grab your lifejacket or floatation device before you hit the water this summer. Drowning can happen in less than 30 seconds.

There is an average of 160 preventable water-related deaths occurring each year in Ontario.

Sunday, July 15, 2018, was the start of National Drowning Prevention Week. The warmer months continue to account for the majority of drowning deaths in Ontario. Have a plan in place and practice water safety.

Lakes are the most common site for drowning fatalities at 44%.  In May 2018, Peel Regional Police Marine Unit rescued a man from his sailboat during the intense wind storm on Lake Ontario. The sailboat was suffering from mechanical issues while battling high winds and large waves. The weather can change rapidly and become dangerous. The Marine Unit urges everyone to wear a lifejacket regardless of the water activity.

Here are some safety tips to keep your head above the water.Never swim alone. Swim with a friend or family member.

Never take your eyes off children near water. 

Always take a floatation device or wear a lifejacket just in case you get tired.

Swim in designated areas supervised by lifeguards.  

Do not consume alcohol while in the water.

Float on your back to conserve energy.

About the author

Asia Metro Editor

Surjit Singh Flora
[email protected]

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