The Rhea County Sheriff’s Department Marine Division is staffed by 7 officers including Sheriff Mike Neal and Chief John Argo. All officers with the division are commissioned by the State of Tennessee as Boating Safety Officers through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency. Marine Division officers attend specialized training in boating safety and operation and regularly attend in-service training to retain their commission.
Marine Division Officers patrol the waterways of Rhea County in an effort to insure safe operation of watercraft by area boats including the correct number of occupants and life preservers per boat. Officers may also check that all equipment is functional and that all license, insurance and registration information for the boat and boater is current. Officers also patrol waterways looking for persons boating under the influence, using watercraft to commit crimes or boating in an unsafe manner.
Another major service provided by the marine division is search and rescue. If a person is reported missing on the water or near the shoreline, the Rhea County Sheriff’s Department marine Division responds to the call. Officers search the local waterways and shoreline in an effort to locate and rescue the person. If the search has been reclassified to recovery, then the mission of the division becomes the recovery of the deceased from the area if at all possible.