Prince George Fire and Rescue chief John Lane would like to add a jet boat to the department's convoy of pumpers and ladder trucks.
Twice this summer, firefighters have had to rely on the public for craft to get out onto the water - once to recover a body in the Fraser River and another time to rescue a couple from an island after one of their tubes sprang a leak while they were floating down the Nechako.
But even before then, Lane said he had been keeping an eye out for a grant program to help defray the cost of a boat fully equipped to provide swift water rescue.
He had planned to submit a proposal to the federal government's joint emergency program for the 2013 fiscal year but the program was canceled in the spring.
While the search continues, fire staff have access to the B.C. conservation office's boats complete with operators, but Lane said the department having its own craft remains preferred because it could be deployed more easily, particularly during odd hours.
The boat would have to be configured for rescue - with a swim deck to ease getting people out of the water and into the craft and a clam shell stretcher among other items - and for rapid deployment against chemical spills.
The August 2007 collision of CN Rail trains that led to a massive fire along the banks of the Fraser is an example of where such a boat would have been helpful, Lane said, who noted it took some time to get a craft out there with a boom to contain spilled fuel.
Prince George Search and Rescue has access to boats through the Prince George Riverboat Association but Lane said it still can often take some time to get a boat out onto the water, especially in the middle of the night.
As well as the cost of the boat, likely in the $40,000 range, there are the costs of maintenance and any specialized operator training but Prince George Fire and Rescue already have swift water and ice water rescue personnel and equipment.
"We will be looking at other opportunities trying to secure that resource," Lane said.