Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Unveils New Rescue ATV

The SHERP is an essential rescue tool that can travel through ice, mud and marshes. (Photo by Alyssa Riccardi)

  OCEAN COUNTY – Covered with waterways like marshes, lakes and rivers, Ocean County has a unique landscape that attracts thousands of visitors every year.

  Since the terrain can sometimes be difficult to travel through, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office has introduced a state-of-the-art vehicle in the event a water-based rescue is needed.

  “We now have a new vehicle that can assist in both land and water rescues throughout the County,” said Commissioner Gary Quinn, liaison to the Sheriff’s Department.

  The ATV known as “SHERP” can plow through ice, mud and marshes. It will be used by the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management to reach someone who may be hurt or is having a medical episode.

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  The idea was first proposed by Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy after he was caught in a hurricane in North Carolina.

Ocean County Commissioner Gary Quinn, Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy along with Captain Joseph Greene unveiled the SHERP vehicle. (Photo by Alyssa Riccardi)Ocean County Commissioner Gary Quinn, Ocean County Sheriff Mike Mastronardy along with Captain Joseph Greene unveiled the SHERP vehicle. (Photo by Alyssa Riccardi)

  “Based on Ocean County’s topography, having this vehicle will allow us to perform rescues that in the past have been difficult to access,” Mastronardy said. “This vehicle is rugged and can withstand just about anything allowing us to perform life-saving rescues while eliminating the concern of how to navigate reaching a victim.”

  The SHERP can move at 25 miles per hour by land and 3.7 miles per hour in the water. It can effortlessly move over mounds of sand, through brush and across other obstacles including downed trees. Not only can it move through water, it can go through deep snow and into ice.

  “This is a piece of equipment that we are certainly are very happy to have in Ocean County. Sheriff first brought this idea to the Board of Commissioners a few years ago. We’ve never seen anything like it,” Quinn said. “Having gone through so many different tragedies in Ocean County, with hurricanes and Superstorm Sandy. We live in an area with a lot of issues we have to deal with; we have to have to proper equipment to be able to handle it.”

  “If it can save one life, it’s worth the investment,” Quinn added.

Photo by Alyssa Riccardi

  The one-of-a-kind vehicle is extremely versatile with tires over five feet tall. The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department plans to equip the SHERP with first aid kits, life-rings, rope, floatation devices, and an automated external defibrillator (AED).

  “There’s really no other vehicle in Ocean County that would be able to navigate the tidal wetlands that we have. This is the solution to those issues,” Captain Joseph Greene said.

  “This is a rescue vehicle for our department that will be used throughout the County, year-round,” Mastronardy said. “I appreciate the support of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners so that the department could acquire this vehicle.”