New Hanover County

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Homeland Security Alert














Updated and Maintained




Lt. J.J. Brewer













Lieutenant M.D. Payne - Team Commander


910-798-4227 Main

910-798-4230 FAX




Remote Operated Vehicle Unit

R.O.V. Unit


The Remote Operated Vehicle Unit, or R.O.V. for short, is part of the Marine Unit. The unit currently consists of 5 R.O.V. operators. The operators have full time duties throughout the agency and the R.O.V. unit is one of their collateral duties. The R.O.V. is equipped with several tools that can be used separately or together to complete a mission. The R.O.V. has a sonar unit that allows the operators to ‘see’ in black water such as the Cape Fear River. The unit also has a manipulator or ‘hand’ that can grab on to or pick things up while underwater. Inside the housing is a high definition camera. The camera can pan up and down as well as zoom in and out. The camera and sonar images can be recorded as video or still shots. Included with the unit is a ‘smart tether’, this section of tether lets the operator know where the R.O.V. is but also where it has been. The tether does this through the onboard technology of accelerometers, depth sensors and magnetometers placed at intervals along the tether.

The R.O.V. can be deployed for hours on end, unlike a diver that will have to surface after just twenty minutes. The R.O.V. can be used to search an area, pinpoint an item for recovery and actually be used to lead the diver to the object. If the object isn’t too big or heavy, the R.O.V. can be used to recover the object by bringing the item to the surface with its manipulator. The R.O.V. is powered from the surface so there are no batteries to wear out or recharge. The R.O.V. can run as long as there is an operator to control it.

The R.O.V. Unit has responded to calls within the county but will also respond to request from other agencies and has already assisted the NC Wildlife Resource Commission with underwater images of the new boat ramp in Castle Hayne. The equipment will be housed in and operated out of the Dive Unit trailer. The operators can sit inside the trailer while the tether handler will be at the waters edge. Portable radios are used for communications between the operators and the tether handlers.

The Marine Unit assists many other agencies including federal, state and local agencies throughout the region, such as the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Navy, State Bureau of Investigations, NC State Port Authority, Duplin County Sheriff’s Office and Columbus County Sheriff’s Office. The Marine Unit is ready to respond 24 hours a day, 7 days a week>