When the Point Pleasant First Aid Dive Team was formed so many years ago we immediately saw the need for a rescue boat. With the surrounding lakes, ponds, streams, inlets and many miles of coast line, we knew this was a piece of equipment that was desperately needed. With little in the way of funding, we knew we had to go raise the money ourselves.
We set out to raise the money with car washes, donation jars in local businesses and even recovering sinkers from the inlet and selling them back to the fishermen. It was slow going but we were determined to get a rescue boat. Until one day we got a call from the local Zodiac dealer telling us to come down and pick one out. Someone was buying the boat, motor and trailer and it was going to be a donation to the Dive Team.
Lou Mercatanti of Nassau Broadcasting made that donation and gave the team the boat they needed. His generosity and kindness provided us with a 16’ Zodiac rescue boat that was to serve the area residents for over 15 years. Rescue 34 was used as a training platform for divers and for patrolling the areas waters. Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall we were out training or patrolling in our red 16’ Zodiac.
That training paid off during hurricane sandy, the team was out at the height of the storm rescuing people from flooded homes. The flooding was so severe that we launched the boat next to the railroad tracks on Arnold Ave. Many of the people said how happy they were when they saw our bright red Rescue 34 coming down the street to take them to higher ground.
After hurricane sandy one story comes to mind how Rescue 34 helped people suffering from the effects of the storm. The storm surge had caused a house to be washed across the bay where it came to rest in the shallow waters. The team was out patrolling in Rescue 34 and came across the family trying to recover what they could out of their relocated house. The team helped load out what they could and then loaded a floating dock we found with the families personal items and towed the dock to a local marina using Rescue 34. It wasn’t a big rescue. Just the team helping people who could use an extra hand.
After sandy we were out just about every weekend doing beach sweeps and river sweeps and lake clean outs and using Rescue 34 on every one of them. If you go to our blog spot (ptrescuedive.blogspot.com) you can look up hurricane sandy and read the stories and see all the pictures.
This past June, during a routine training drill, Rescue 34 suffered a catastrophic hull failure and was lost at sea. She sank in minutes. Luckily no one on the Dive Team was injured during the sinking. Losing Rescue 34 was heart breaking for the team, she was one of us and served us well for over 15 years.
So, here we are again. 15 years later and we start the fundraising process all over again! The Dive Team has setup a GoFundMe campaign to help us raise money for a replacement Rescue 34. The money raised will help us purchase a brand new 19’ Ribcraft. We are asking anyone willing to help our cause to go to www.gofundme.com/rescue34 to make a donation.
We would like to thank the community, local businesses and state and local authorities and for all of their support throughout the years. We look forward to serving you in the future.