Last Wednesday, amid heavy downpours and flood warnings, we snapped a quick photo of the FDNY’s Scuba Unit truck on 34th Street. As we had never seen this Scuba Unit before, it got us wondering who’s behind it and what do they do?
The FDNY Scuba Unit began in 1981 with only 8 members, but today are located in all five boroughs. These rescue teams are trained for “are trained for all nature of nautical emergencies, from searching murky waters for a struggling swimmer to evacuating a burning oil tanker,” according to the Daily News.
Similarly, the NYPD also has its on Scuba Unit. According to the site, the Scuba Unit was founded in 1966 as a sub-unit of the NYPD Harbor Patrol. There are twenty-eight members in charge of patrolling New York City’s waterways. They routinely head investigations about homicides, suicides, drug trafficking, terrorist attacks and other crimes. Because of the adverse conditions, which include “sludge, mud, toxins, parasites, debris, thick vegetation, ice, night time or zero visibility, frigid water, rough seas and weather, and strong currents,” Scuba Unit members must be in top physical condition.
In addition to comprehensive written and medical exams, candidates (who must have at least two years of street patrol experience) are required to perform a minimum of 12 pull-ups, 32 pushups, 75 sitting tucks, a mile run in under 6:48, a 500-yard swim in under 12 minutes, a 25 yard underwater swim wearing a 10 pound weight belt, a 15 minutes survival float and 3 minutes treading water using feet only.
We definitely wouldn’t qualify! How about you?