BERKELEY COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - When it comes to a water rescue every second counts. Berkeley County Rescue Squad was called out Monday night to help three fisherman who lost control of their boat, and the driver was suffering from head trauma. Squad Chief Bill Salisbury says they rescued the men off the bank after 10 p.m. on Diversion Canal in Cross. Two patients were taken to the hospital. One man had no injuries.
From stranded kayakers, boaters, swimmers, rescuers say there's been a wave of emergency water rescues this summer and the number is up from last year.
"I attribute that to basically the heat, hot weather. A lot more people are out on the lake trying to cool off," Salisbury said.
Salisbury says a volunteer rescue squad is pricey because they must pay for life saving gear, maintenance, equipment insurance, volunteer insurance, and training.
Rescuers say it's hard to say exactly how much a rise in water rescues cost the agencies, but they can say when the price of gas goes up, so does the price of a rescue.
"Our two largest boats are 25 foot Boston Whalers and they each carry about 140 gallons of gas, if you calculate that out, you're talking $400-500 to fill one up," Salisbury said.
Salisbury says despite the costs, saving a life is priceless.
"It doesn't matter what it costs or what it takes, if someone is in danger, we'll be out there trying to save them," he said.
Authorities say stormy or windy weather can affect boaters or others out on the water, so check out forecasts before heading out on the water.
Some other challenges for rescuers when it comes to water emergencies include:
-finding a victim's location
-unknown hazards underwater
-a submerged watercraft
-and if rescue divers are needed, underwater visibility and currents