Sheboygan County Dive Team
Dive Team Director: Dir. Steve Steinhardt
Dive Team Liaison: Detective Corey Norlander
Dive Team Leader: Deputy Steve Wimmer
Assistant Dive Team Leader: S.W. Patrick Leichtnam
Lead Line Tender: Sheboygan Falls Firefighter Calvin Kesweder
Sheboygan County Dive Team Members: Deputy Kurt Schmidt, Deputy Adam Walter, Officer Spencer Wilson, Corrections Officer Mike Russ, Corrections Officer Damian Ballantine, Cedar Grove Firefighter Kyle Voskuil, Town of Sheboygan Falls Firefighter Scott Kroeplien, Sheboygan City Firefighter Jeff Granke
Sheboygan County Dive Team Support Units: Cedar Grove Fire Dept., Kohler Fire Dept., Sheboygan Falls Fire Dept., Town of Sheboygan Falls Fire Dept., Plymouth Fire Dept. Ambulance.
We are indebted to these agencies for their assistance in providing us with their skill sets to make the dive team more proficient in the duties we are asked to perform.
Our mission is to promote water safety within the community, provide our departments with the capability of victim and property recovery, and perform searches for evidence as it relates to crimes.
Sheboygan County is located in east central Wisconsin on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The county covers 514 sq. miles with a population of 113,000 residents. There are 72 inland lakes covering 2111 acres and five rivers. Sheboygan County also encompasses 775 sq. miles of Lake Michigan. The significant amount of water and recreational activities in Sheboygan County substantiates the need for a quick response dive team.
The Sheboygan County Law Enforcement Dive Team was established in 2000. Originally The Sheboygan Police Department and the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department had separate dive teams. These separate teams were in existence since the 1960’s. The two teams were combined in an effort to provide better service and cost savings to taxpayers.
In 2014, the official name of the dive team was changed to MABAS Division 113 Dive Team. The change in name reflects the evolution of the team from a Law Enforcement based dive team to an inclusive team that is made up of Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS, and Corrections. It also provides ownership of the team to the entire Sheboygan County public safety community.
The ten members each have minimum certifications for PADI open and advanced open water, Public Safety Diver, ice diver, dry suit diver, and Dive Rescue Specialist 1 and ERDI 1. In addition, some members have training as med diver, underwater investigator, surface ice rescue, equipment specialist, Dive Rescue Specialist II, visual cylinder inspector, and dive master.
Annually the team schedules eighty hours of in-house training. This consists of a yearly skills review at the Plymouth High School pool. Members must show proficiency in basic SCUBA skills as well as complete the International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists waterman ship skill test. This is a timed test consisting of a 500 yard swim, 800 yard snorkel, 15 minutes treading water, and a 100 yard diver tow. Additional in-house training consists of ice diving, wreck diving and scenario based search pattern work in our local waters.
Our team works closely with the Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Department Boat Patrol and the United States Coast Guard Station Sheboygan. We are also indebted to these two agencies for their assistance in providing us transportation and on-station support during Lake Michigan operations. All of our dives are in personally assigned personal protective equipment that consists of dry suits with dry gloves, as well as Apex WTX harness with Public Safety Diver Wing (buoyancy compensator devices - BCD) and the Divator AGA full-face masks. We also use a separate attached redundant air supply as a backup. In addition the team operates out of an ambulance with a 25 foot trailer. All gear is stored in the dive trailer with tanks, BCD’s, and regulators assembled. Members have their own designated section in the dive trailer with their additional gear organized for timely deployment.
Supplementary team gear includes a line gun for swift water deployment high lines, JW Fischer’s 8X Metal Detector and a GoPro camera that can be attached to the AGA mask. All of our divers are committed to improving themselves and the team. Through additional training and resources we are striving to improve individually and as a team with the goal to continue to provide excellent service to our community.
Dive Team Leader Steve Wimmer teaching water safety at a Safety Town session in Sheboygan