New Hanover County

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Updated and Maintained




Lt. J.J. Brewer













Lieutenant M.D. Payne - Team Commander


910-798-4227 Main

910-798-4230 FAX




The New Hanover County Sheriff’s Office Dive Team is part of the Underwater Investigations Unit.  The Unit consists of fifteen members all ranging in rank and normal duty assignments.  The Dive Unit members have a variety of certifications including Rescue Diver, Search and Recovery, Dry Suit, Equipment Specialist, Underwater Photography and others.  The duties of the Dive Unit range from but are not limited to:  the rescue of person or persons from water situations; the recovery of a body or bodies from any area water; the search and recovery of submerged evidence and the recovery of submerged vehicles.

The Dive Unit was formed to answer the needs of the many calls for service where a diver is required.  This is largely due to the fact that New Hanover County is virtually surrounded by different bodies of water which include the Atlantic Ocean, the Cape Fear River, the Intracoastal Waterway and the numerous creeks and ponds throughout the county.

The Dive Unit also responds to calls from other agencies in the region when they need assistance.  The Dive Unit has assisted local state and federal agencies in the area such as the NC State Ports Authority, the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy and others.  The Dive Unit trains and responds to calls in many area that are less than hospitable such as retention ponds, creeks, the Cape Fear River, channels and marinas.  The unit responds in all types of weather conditions and any time, day or night.  Often, the unit dives in water most people wouldn't swim in or even fish in due to contaminates and poor visibility. 

The dive team, deploys and trains in many areas that are less then hospitable, including but not limited to black water ponds, creeks, and sometimes freezing waters.  The team often dives in water in which most people would not swim, or fish due to the contaminates and poor visibility. 

The unit is able to dive in these conditions because of the equipment that is utilized, from fully encapsulating dry suits, full face masks with underwater communications, tended safety lines and an underwater metal detector.  The unit can operate at night with the trailer mounted generator and lights array. 


The Dive Unit is always in a "ready" state as the bulk of the specialized equipment is kept in a rapid deployment trailer and is equipped to handle most situations.

The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office Dive Unit is ready to dive at anytime, day or night, 365 days a year.