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



The New Hanover County Sheriff's Office Side Scan Sonar Unit is part of the Underwater Investigations Unit.  Unit members are trained in the specialized use of the side scan sonar and water craft operations.  The side scan sonar allows the operator to electronically see into and through most any type of water, even the "black water" of the Cape Fear River.  The unit allows us to scan large areas underwater very quickly and enables the deputies to pinpoint the location of an object before divers are deployed for recovery.

The duties of the Side Scan Sonar Unit range from but are not limited to:  the rescue of a person or persons from water situations; the search and recovery of submerged evidence and the recovery of submerged vehicles or other objects.

The Side Scan Sonar Unit was formed to answer the need of many calls for service where underwater investigation is needed.  This largely due to the fact that the county is virtually surrounded by different bodies of water, from the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway, the Cape Fear River and the numerous creeks and ponds that are within the county.

The unit also responds to calls of assistance from other agencies including local, state and federal agencies such as the NC State Ports Authority, United States Marine Corps and the NC State Parks.

The Side Scan Sonar Unit trains for a variety of different situations including night operations so as to be ready and able to respond when called upon.