Halifax Search and Rescue trains with latest equipment

Halifax Search and Rescue used its newly acquired SONAR equipment to help a community aquatic club retrieve boats at the bottom of Kearney Lake.

As part of a drill on Saturday, rescuers pretended kayakers had gone out and didn't returned.

"With the SONAR we get to see a picture of the bottom. What it looks like underneath the water," said Duncan Enman, a volunteer with HSAR.

On this day the group was looking for a boat, but another day could hold something different.

"If you were looking for a car, looking for an object whether it be a bicycle or some other clue that might be useful for a lost person's case, or you might be looking for the lost person themselves," Enman said.

HSAR spokesperson Paul Service said in the past ten years, they have done 23 searches that involve water.

Ten of these involved significant water searches, where the new equipment they received - thanks to funding from the city - may have been utilized to its advantage.

The team found a kayak that has been laying at the bottom of the lake for at least three years. To retrieve it, they enlisted local divers from Torpedo Rays Scuba Adventures.

"There's a lot of things to consider when you're lifting something off the bottom that's been there for a while," said Alan Havill, diver with Torpedo Rays Scuba Adventures.

"Like how far it sunk into the silt. How much suction there's going to be."

Discoloured but not destroyed, the team reunited the boat with its owner-- the Maskwa Aquatic Club.

"Oh it's fine. It's fine. Just a little dirty but that's the bottom of the lake," said Dan Dugie, a board member with the club.

After washing it off, he plans to use it for summer programs.

"Almost for sure it was some beginner paddlers took it out and lost it but it's really nice to have it back," said Peter Giles, who is also with the Maskwa Aquatic Club.

Searchers then found another boat that suffered serious damaged. Only one part of it was found and retrieved, and what can be salvaged, will be recycled.

"There are actually some parts on this that we can use our existing boats so I'll cut them off of that and the rest we'll dispose of properly," Dugie said.