Valley Water Rescue


Frequently asked questions

These are some of the questions we are often asked by members of the community.

What is it like diving in the Red River? How deep is it? What is the bottom like?
The Red River is a main waterway artery through the Fargo/Moorhead area. Most people have an inner fear of the Red River as a dirty, dangerous environment. As divers, we do usually have zero visibility but that is caused by the softer clay banks that are creating the turbid conditions. The water is actually of fairly high quality with little contamination. The depth varies from inches to 15-20 feet.  This, of course, varies depending upon the time of year and precipitation. 

Surprisingly, the bottom is often quite hard with the original river bed unchanged over the course of many decades.
This means that we often find old relics of the past to include bottles, jugs and other artifacts resistant to the effects of deterioration. We often find more current 'artifacts' of bicycles, weapons and other stolen property.

What type of equipment do you need to do this type of diving? How much does it cost?
This work is a very equipment-intense activity. Items we use include:

  • Dry suits protect us from cold, contamination and abrasion
  • thermal undergarments keeps us warm
  • full face masks deliver air and isolate us from the often harsh environment
  • tanks to allow us to bring a quantity of air along
  • second tank of air to allow for redundancy in the event a diver has an entanglement or injury
  • fins propel us through the water
  • often 30 or more pounds of lead to offset the positive buoyancy of much of the equipment and the effects of current; a buoyancy jacket to allow the diver to change buoyancy underwater and maintain positive buoyancy on the surface
  • communication equipment to allow the diver to talk to their tender and backup diver while underwater
  • line bags to keep control of the diver during the dive, to assist in communication and help the diver enter
    and leave the water.
Each one of our divers entering the water is using more than $5,000 in equipment, not including any of the support equipment necessary for a safe operation.