The River Rescue Unit was formed in March of 1986 by combining the efforts of the Bureau of Emergency Medical Services' SCUBA Search & Rescue Team with those of the Bureau of Police River Patrol.
The Paramedics who staff the River Rescue Units are certified as Public Safety Divers and are responsible for surface and subsurface water rescue, and for administering ALS emergency
medical care to victims until they are transferred to the care of a land-based Medic Unit for additional treatment and transport.
The Police Officers assigned to River Rescue are responsible for piloting the various water rescue craft as well as for enforcing the regulations of the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Code.
The primary mission of the River Rescue Unit is to prevent and to respond to waterborne emergencies in the waterways in and around the City of Pittsburgh.
The Unit is also an integral part of the waterways community by providing assistance to the largest number of registered recreational boats in Pennsylvania and providing port security for the second largest inland port in the United States. Partnering with federal, state and other agencies, River Rescue remains dedicated to incident prevention as well as emergency response.