How would you design a vehicle for rescue in flooding and snow?


New member
I am interested in designing and preparing a vehicle for use as a rescue / aide vehicle in flooded urban areas, and would like your thoughts and suggestions. Personal & rescue equipment suggestions are also welcome.

Situation Examples:

Vehicle Concept:
  • Multi-purpose vehicle to use for property maintenance during dry season
  • Fording capability & durability to travel & sit in water up to 3 ft/1 m deep
  • Water will mostly be still, but currents may need to be crossed, so lateral grip/stability is a consideration
  • Should be able to move people and stuff, and a small boat or amphibious craft for forays into deeper water
  • Must handle snow & ice, too.
  • Trail toy ability a plus!

Testing / Training Sites:
But don't need to do this:

So, what do you think? What vehicle, tire size, etc. would you choose?


jimi breeze

jimi breeze
disclaimer: #1 I don't know what your budget is.
#2 This is what I would consider.

older vehicle- engineered simple, strong, and common enough readily to get parts.
drive train - low gears, locking differential, manual transmission, toquey engine, tall skinny tires
suspension - mild lift with articulation and a primary concern
payload - at least (2) seats, rear cargo, rooftop payload capable
water tight integrity - all gear vents routed to firewall, snorkel system, exhaust angled down to expel water, cab having drain plugs, critical electrical mounted high

relevant vehicle choices: IH Scout, Jeep Scrambler or CJ6, late 60's early 70's Broncs, Blazer, Ramcharger
(any one of these classic trucks would do the job)


New member
Hahahaha, that looks like great fun! At first I thought you were just joking, but it is WAY smaller than I thought it would be:

And now you've got me watching Russian youtube :snorkel:
At 2 mins a pretty creative vehicle goes through, then at 4:35 the SHERP shows up before getting stuck in deep goo.
This gets especially interesting at 4:20, and a homemade SHERP at 9:20 - this guy is a fearless builder!

I recently discovered the Aton Impulse Viking, which is not unlike the SHERP in its use of tire flotation.


New member
Jimi, I like where you're going with this: serviceable, durable, proven, affordable. Probable budget of $3-5k per year for up to four years.

I quite like center differentials, especially since this will be used in an urban environment, so something from the Big 3 with an NP203 could do quite well.

Passenger vehicles seem to get into trouble in floods when the water reaches their body, as that is when they become the most buoyant and have the most surface area for the water to push on them. Tractors and even bicycles seem to do better with this because the water flows "through" them more. For this reason, I've even thought about a tube buggy or UTV. My priority is to get in and get out, and to get people out, but I'm less concerned about staying dry myself. I'm thinking truck-based, though, as I can make a truck drive through water much more cheaply than I can improve the payload and road-legality of a UTV.

I would not have thought of angling the exhaust, so thanks especially for that! I've heard the military uses temporary exhaust snorkels for deep crossings. :088:


New member
Okay, thanks for the advice on the deuce. If you're willing, what is it about their design or mechanical makeup that makes them so ideal, and how could that be put into a smaller package?


Okay, thanks for the advice on the deuce. If you're willing, what is it about their design or mechanical makeup that makes them so ideal, and how could that be put into a smaller package?

Simple design (except for the CTIS systems), some were made with a fording kit already installed, large payload, lots of wheels to spread traction over soft ground.


My Unimog fits the bill but I still don't get where you are going with this. For rescue use, readiness and reliability are paramount . My Mog is 47 years old. The pictures of the ideal vehicles (old school) are about the same age.I think it would be foolhardy to suggest such old vehicles for this use unless you have unlimited funds to keep them in perfect shape and readiness. Also, flooding can wash anything out into the ocean. I don't mean to piss into your cornflakes but I just don't get it. Do you work for the Red Cross, SAR, another government agency? :coffee:


New member
762X39, I think we mostly agree. Reliability and safety are very important to me, too.

I'll try and clarify my idea: 9+ months out of the year the prospective truck would be used for ranch/forestry work, but up to 3 months per year the local rivers flood. In this case we're dealing with 6 to 36" of water, mostly standing, only hazardous to vehicles because of depth. There is no danger of washing into the ocean, but the ocean is near enough that the water can't get that deep here, and the ground is flat enough that the water doesn't move that fast. In short, the town is a very large puddle.

Around the same time, up in the hills it snows.

I want to be able to help people, and would likely register as a disaster volunteer with county fire or SAR. "Help" means to drive people around, take them to shelters, haul sandbags and building materials, etc. I also don't want to be stuck anywhere myself.

I've read through many threads and articles on expedition and off road travel that cover prep for deep water crossings. The insights I especially hope to get here are regarding staying in the water, including stopping and restarting, rather than short slogs from one bank to another; what can be done to maximize lateral stability and minimize lateral force of water in the event a current is encountered; and any other rescue vehicle insights. For example, if active SAR vehicle users always wish they had somebody there with a dump bed, pickup crane, extra winch, or hot cocoa dispenser.

Cheers :)


Expedition Leader
Full size pickup with a snorkle, maybe lifted a few inches, with a winch on both ends, and a number of heavy tie down point to tie off safety lines etc.

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