Werneth Promotes Saving Lives With ‘Rapid Diver’ System

By  //  August 16, 2013

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public safety

ABOVE VIDEO: The people of Oyster Bay, New York lost three children in a tragic boating accident which might have been prevented, if the first responders had been equipped with the proper rescue apparatus.   

Drivers and passengers are often injured in an accident, rendering them unable to escape from a submerged vehicle. (Space Coast Daily image)

BREVARD COUNTY• COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA — There is a silent killer in Florida that continues to claim victims. Brevard County, like many areas around America, does not have the best technology available to address this killer and is often unprepared to deal with it.     


The killer in question is our beautiful Space Coast environment. Our citizens are surrounded on all sides by water from canals, rivers, lakes and the ocean and when people are involved in driving or boating accidents, that find them submerged under water, the first responders do not have the proper equipment to quickly rescue the victim(s) and this too often results in drownings.

Imagine you and your family are driving along the Interstate at a safe speed and a large truck swerves into your lane, causing you to veer off course and into a deep ditch on the side of the road. Your car begins to submerge and within seconds your car is totally submerged.

Imagine you and your family are driving along the Interstate at a safe speed and a large truck swerves into your lane, causing you to veer off course and into a deep ditch on the side of the road. Your car begins to submerge and within seconds your car is totally submerged. You and your loved ones have been unable to get out of the vehicle quickly enough.

A police car arrives quickly and the officer attempts to swim down to the vehicle to release the passengers but is unable to hold his breath long enough in the treacherous water. If only he had the proper equipment that he could quickly put on to stay underwater to effect a safe rescue.

Unfortunately, this type of situation occurs hundreds of times around the state of Florida every year and many people drown


ABOVE VIDEO: How to escape a car sinking in deep water.

It is often suggested that the real problem is that drivers should know how to escape when a vehicle is submerged. This is not practical because the data indicates that with accidents involving vehicle submersion, most vehicles experience multiple impacts and rollover prior to submersion.

SUBMERGED-DEATHS-350-1The driver and or other occupants within the vehicle, are often seriously or fatally injured prior to the submersion event, rendering them unable to exit the vehicle.

This is the case for three children who lost their lives on July 4, 2012 in Oyster Bay New York.  Plenty of emergency responders had arrived on the scene of the capsized boat in less than five minutes. However they did not have the equipment needed to rescue the children. This terrible incident inspired the community there to secure the proper equipment for its safety personnel.

In response to the tragedy, the Town of Oyster Bay emergency responders from multiple departments have received training at the Sewanhaka Yacht Club in Oyster Bay on the “Rapid Dive” rescue device, which allows the user to execute an underwater rescue in less than 15 seconds.

Joy Treanor, who lost her daughter in the Oyster Bay disaster, was shocked to learn that the bay constables and Coast Guard did not have the right equipment when they arrived on the scene of the capsized vessel.

ABOVE VIDEO: Wyatt Werneth demonstrates how quickly the Rapid Diver system can be put on to save lives. The Rapid Diver system is used around the country and world as an affordable, easy to use and fast life-saving solution.

Treanor and Christopher Briggs, president of the Bay Constable Benevolent Association, appealed to the Oyster Bay Town Board to ensure that bay constables have the right gear to respond to a water emergency, as they are usually the first to arrive on scene. The board agreed to accept Rapid Diver equipment for the constables to use in future accidents.

Briggs raised the money to purchase the Rapid Diver units, which include air sources for both the rescuer and the victim. Of the 10 units, four will go to Oyster Bay, two will go to the South Shore and two will go to the North Shore.


The Rapid Diver System equipment to help solve this often tragic issue is available for Florida.

Public safety advocate Wyatt Werneth is promoting the use of the Radid Diver system for use by first responders to accidents (Space Coast Daily image)
Public safety advocate Wyatt Werneth is promoting the use of the Radid Diver system for use by first responders to accidents (Space Coast Daily image)

The Rapid Diver Systems have been available to public safety for almost 10 years but only a handful of first responders have been equipped with Rapid Diver.

This equipment should be recognized as just as important as an Automated External Defibrillator (A.E.D) and should be required to be on all rescuers vehicles. It is easy to use and requires little training. It will save lives.

Brevard County as well as local police departments have dive teams but the first responders, who arrive at accident scenes, are often the ones called upon to act quickly to save lives. There is often not enough time for the dive teams to arrive.

There are three key parts to a having a comprehensive dive rescue program:

1. Rapid/Immediate Capability: This is the ability to get to and save someone submerged in less than 2 minutes from arriving on the scene.

2. Intermediate: This refers to greater than a one hour response and generally is a search and recovery – rarely a rescue.

3. Delayed: This refers to a five hour response usually for crime scene work or extended search and recovery as well as removal of car or sunken boat.

Brevard County has number 2 and 3 covered – but not number 1, the ability to rapidly rescue under water.  The only department in Brevard with this capability is the Cocoa Beach Fire Department. However the Cocoa Beach Fire Department does not have number 2 or 3.

The Rapid Diver System
The Rapid Diver System

The citizens of Brevard and it’s visitors are in danger from this threat. When people ride in their cars and boats on our roads and waterways, they have a reasonable expectation that they will be rescued if they find themselves submerged in water. Our emergency responders must be equipped with the proper equipment necessary to save lives..

As we know, in today’s tough economy, many city and county budgets are shrinking and money is tight.  However, for a relatively low cost, our first responders can be equipped with the technology that they need to save lives.

Oyster Bay experienced the tragic loss of children and they now have the equipment that they need to save lives in the future. The time is now to act to prevent the silent killer from taking more lives.


Wyatt Werneth holds the  of the Guinness World Record for prone paddle boarding, traversing  more than 345 miles from Miami to Jacksonville in 2007 to raise awareness for beach safety. He has been a fisherman, U.S. Navy diver, dock master, salvager, firefighter, U.S. Coast Guard petty officer, Ocean Rescue Chief for Brevard County Fire Rescue, event organizer and a security specialist fighting terrorism around the world.

Wyatt Werneth
Wyatt Werneth

With a tactical background from serving in the Navy and the Coast Guard, Werneth was selected to be part of a group of tactical military trained men who are provide integrated security and mission support carrying out and enabling national security missions globally in support of the U.S. government’s Anti-Terrorism Assistance Program. The position has taken him all over the Middle East, Afghanistan and Columbia – working alongside the Navy, Marines and DOD/DOS departments.

For Werneth’s next exploit, he is planning to pilot a human-powered mini-sub in the Gulf Steam of Florida’s east coast – with a goal of setting a new world underwater endurance – and also bring attention to several other worthy causes, including the significant global shark migration off the Florida coast, advanced diving technology used to accomplish the team’s goals, and to bring awareness to submerged vehicle accidents that takes hundreds of lives in Florida every year.