ANDERSON COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – Anderson County Emergency Management unveiled its new rescue boat on Lake Hartwell. 

Joshua Hawkins, director of Emergency Management, said the 28-foot boat is designed to support fire, EMS, law enforcement, HAZMAT, rescue, and recovery operations. 

“Our goal is to save lives, protect property, and protect the environment and this boat is checking all three for us,” said Hawkins.

The former emergency management boat was a 2005 Carolina Skip flat bottom boat. Hawkins said the biggest difference is the firefighting capabilities. 

“It’s worked great for us, but it’s time to go ahead and replace and if we’re going to replace, we might as well replace with something better, something that’s going to better suit Anderson County and the growth of Anderson County,” said Hawkins. 

Emergency management said the boat features a fold-down front gate that allows for rapid deployment of personnel and retrieval of injured persons during shoreline operations.

The gate’s removable ladder and ability to be lowered below the water line will make it easier for dive time members and other personnel to access the craft during waterborne operations.  

Other key features of the boat: 

  • 360° scene lighting system and advanced sonar equipment
  • Hummingbird GPS system
  • Davit crane (capable of hoisting 3,000 lbs.)
  • 20hp removable fire pump capable of flowing 630 gallons of water per minute, equipped to support land-based firefighting operations from the water’s edge.

South Carolina leaders said the addition of the boat will benefit the community and will be used across other lakes in Anderson County.

“I’ve always believed that public safety is paramount to everything we do in government. And this is a prime example of State County partnerships coming together. And it’s a great day for Anderson County,” said South Carolina State Representative Don Chapman.