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Side Scan Sonar

In early 2005 our team decided to invest in a new Side Scan SONAR unit. After a extensive research and a thorough market search we decided to go with a MARINE SONIC, Inc. - Centurion "Splash Proof" system.

We took delivery of our 600 kHz system on May 29, 2005. Less then a week later we were called to use it for a drowning. To date we have used the system to locate and recover many drowning victims. At the request of Maryland Natural Resources Police, we have run mutual aid to many other Maryland jurisdictions including Calvert, St. Mary's, Prince Georges, Anne Arundel, Dorchester, Queen Ann, and Hartford counties. We have also assisted authorities in Virginia and Pennsylvania to locate and recover drowning victims.

The images below are from the actual scans. The have not been enhanced and appear largely as they did real-time. To protect the identity and dignity of the victims, as well as the loved ones they left behind, no details will be included regarding the circumstances, date, or locations of these calls. Click on each thumbnail to bring up a larger image.


Victim can be seen in the upper area of the right side scan. Notice drag line in the bottom from other responders who had used drag hooks in an attempt to snag the victim. Victim was found ~50ft from the vessel he was on prior to the accident.

Victim is seen near the center of the image. the was a left side only scan.



Victim is seen in toward the top of the right side scan. This images shows a lot to interference due to wave action and chop. Rough weather makes good imagery difficult. Zoom image to the right.

Double drowning. Both victims are located in the upper right about 20ft apart.

Victim is seen near the center right of the image. Our bottom marker can be seen placed near the victim.

Victim is seen on the lower right side of the image. Our bottom marker can be seen placed near the victim.

Victim is located toward the center of the left side scan. Conditions were very rough and imagery was poor.

Two stolen vehicles found during a drill. Both vehicles are upside down. A 12' extension ladder is also visible.

This scan is of an airboat that sank when the hull integrity was breached during an ice operation. The boat was pushed by the current ~600' as seen by the bottom marks.


This technology has tremendously improved our ability and effectiveness in large area searches. Often times we have very little information to work with to establish a 'last seen point' for a target or victim. Now these difficult searches are now little more then bounce dives for the divers to make a recovery once a target has been identified.

Additional imagery will be added soon

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