From Russia with Love, Check Out Ocean County’s New Russian ATV

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If you have seen Ocean County’s newest rescue vehicle and it looks a bit foreign to you, that’s because it is.

The new ATV purchased by the Ocean County Board of Commissioners has been unveiled for use by the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department, call the SHERP. The SHERP is a Russian-made ATV that was the garage brainchild of its chief designer and mechanic, Alexei Garagashyan. Designed originally in Garagashyan’s St. Petersburgh, Russia garage, it is now available for sale in Russia, Ukraine, Canada and the United States.

This week, the Ocean County Board of Commissioners announced it has purchased one of the Russian made vehicles for use in marsh and waterway rescues here in America.

“We now have a new vehicle that can assist in both land and water rescues throughout the County,” said Ocean County Commissioner Gary Quinn, liaison to the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department.

Called a SHERP, the all-terrain vehicle which is a new addition to Ocean’s County Office of Emergency Management, can plow through ice, mud and marshes to reach an individual who may be hurt or is having a medical episode. It was designed by Garagashyan with frigid Russian winters in mind, but the idea has spread globally.

The company now has a headquarters in Canada and Ukraine, in addition to its main headquarters in St. Petersburg.

With enough room to fit a stretcher, the vehicle, operated by Sheriff’s Department personnel can make its way into Ocean County’s toughest terrain, but with a max speed of 24 miles per hour, it has to be trucked in to a hotzone and deployed into the water before it can be utilized, similar to a boat.

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On the water, it has a maximum speed of 3.7 miles per hour, so parties stuck deep in a swamp, the bay or other area will have to wait for the SHERP team to arrive.

“Based on Ocean County’s topography, having this vehicle will allow us to perform rescues that in the past have been difficult to access,” said Ocean County Sheriff Michael G. Mastronardy, who was first introduced to the vehicle while in North Carolina following a hurricane. “This vehicle is rugged and can withstand just about anything allowing us to perform life-saving rescues while eliminating the concern of how to navigate reaching a victim.”

The vehicle can move at 3.7 miles per hour in the water and 25 miles per hour by land. It can easily make its way over mounds of sand, through brush and across other obstacles, including downed trees. It can also get through deep snow and moves easily out of water onto ice or other terrain.

“With all of the waterways, marshes, and open space we have in Ocean County, this vehicle will prove to be an asset,” Quinn said of the new acquisition from Russia. “If this vehicles helps in saving one life it will be well worth it.”

The SHERP’s tires are over five feet talls and carry a box-shaped compartment that can fit six people. It’s described as looking like a cube on wheels.

The Ocean County Sheriff’s Department anticipates outfitting the vehicle with first aid kits, life-rings, rope, floatation devices, and an automated external defibrillator (AED).

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“This is a rescue vehicle for our department that will be used throughout the County, year-round,” Mastronardy said. “I appreciate the support of the Ocean County Board of Commissioners so that the department could acquire this vehicle.”