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Welcome to Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc.

founded by Dennis and Tammy Watters,

specialists in water search and recovery using side image sonar equipment. 




Contact Us           Photo Gallery 1          Photo Gallery 2       Photo Gallery 3    


About Our Organization                                            

Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. was founded by the husband and wife team of  Dennis and Tammy Watters of Moro, Illinois.  Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. is a not-for-profit volunteer organization that specializes in assisting law enforcement in recovery of remains, vehicles and items. Dennis is a life-long fisherman and he and Tammy have participated in multiple tournaments around the midwest and southern states winning regional and national titles.  

In 2005 Dennis acquired a Humminbird Side Image Sonar unit to aid in the tournaments.  While testing the unit near  his home in the waters of the Mississippi River at Alton, IL, Dennis found what he believed to be a car in the river.  Remembering an incident three years prior in which a retired school teacher's car plunged into the water while she was parking and that the car and body were never recovered, he immediately contacted Alton Police.  The police were initially skeptical as the area had been swept previously by a professional searcher and nothing was located. It took a lot of communication with Humminbird and software updates being e-mailed almost daily to improve the images, but they eventually were convinced the image was the car they were seeking.  They sent in divers after Dennis marked the location for them with GPS and the car and body were recovered.  After three long years the family was finally able to give her a proper burial and begin the process of healing.                                                                                          

Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. was born from that incident. Dennis had prior experience in water recovery through the Wood River Volunteer Emergency Corp, assisting in the recovery of a number of drowning victims with his father, also a corp member at that time, using traditional "dragging" methods.  Side image sonar provides a  much more accurate method of locating items or bodies and, in the case of human recovery, does no damage to the body.  It is also safer for divers as they have a specific location to dive and have a general idea what to expect when they go down for recovery missions. 

Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. was contacted by Texas EquuSearch when they heard of the recovery and began working with them whenever a water recovery was necessary.  Together they have assisted in several high-profile cases where bodies, vehicles and other items were recovered allowing law enforcement to build cases against criminals who thought the murky depths of  rivers and lakes was a safe hiding place.  They have also assisted in the recovery of boating accident and drowning victims ranging from children to senior citizens.  

It is not uncommon for Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. to pack up from a search one evening and be on the road the next morning to a new search location.  They have recently conducted two recoveries in Texas only to pack up for Oklahoma to search for a weapon and leave there to arrive 2 days later in Indiana to search for a homicide victim and while on their way home get called to Georgia to aid in a search for a boating accident victim.  They are available on very short notice and willing to answer a call from cooperating agencies with their requests if at all possible.

Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. can also work with agencies to train their personnel in the use of side image sonar equipment.  They have worked closely with Humminbird Corporation to test software updates for the sonar equipment which helped launch a whole new marketing sector for the company.  Dennis has designed and built his own equipment stand and shadow filter for the sonar screen to compliment the equipment. 

Our Mission

To search waterways as thoroughly as possible and to do everything in our power

to bring loved ones home and provide closure to their family,

To use the utmost discretion and confidentially when working with families and agencies,

To assist law enforcement agencies in the recovery and preservation of evidence and

To volunteer our time to accomplish the above tasks in the fastest response time possible. 


Tammy checks equipment before heading out       Dennis shows officials images of a submerged car    

Photo by Jennifer Lyles, Muskogee Phoenix           Photo by John  Badman, Alton Telegraph             


Agencies We Have Worked With

Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery, Inc. performed searches for or provided training in the use of side image sonar equipment to the following agencies :

Alton Police Department, Alton, IL   (located drowning victim and car in the river)

Staunton Police Department, Staunton, IL  (located drowning victim)

Festus Fire Department, Festus, MO  (located drowning victim and training)

Salem Fire Department, Salem, WI  (training and located a paddle wheel)

Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation, OK (search for missing student and his truck)

Oklahoma Highway Patrol, OK (located missing boat)

Kansas Bureau of Investigation (located car in homicide investigation)

Hillsboro Fire Department, Hillsboro, IL (training)

Danville EMA, Danville, IL (training)

Union County Sheriff's Department, Jonesboro, IL  (located gun in criminal investigation)

Illinois Department of Conservation, Springfield, IL (located victims of boating accident)

Tennessee Valley Authority, Paris, TN (training)

Mississippi Wildlife & Sheriff's Department, Luka, MS (located missing car)

Williamson County Sheriff's Department, Marion, IL (located guns and tools in criminal investigation)

Texas EquuSearch, Dickinson, TX (multiple searches/recovery of missing bodies)

Ford County Sheriff's Department, Paxton, IL (missing girl search)

Madison County Sheriff's Department (located gun in homicide investigation)

Jacksonville Sheriff's Department, Jacksonville, GA (located drowning victim)

Montgomery County Constable's Dive Team, Conroe, TX (located victim of boat accident)

Illinois State Police, Chicago, IL area (search for 2 missing women)

Texas Parks & Wildlife (located victim of boat accident near Conroe, Tx)

Texas Parks & Wildlife (located victim of boating accident at Lake Ray Hubbard)

Lafayette IN Police Department (search for potential homicide victim)

Kentucky Emergency Management, Illinois Conservation Police and Victims Families at Kentucky Lake

Coast Guard, Navy & Texas Equusearch  (locate missing plane and pilot)

Litchfield, IL Fire Department (drowning victim)

Illinois Dept. of Natural Resources (drowning victim)

Oklahoma Bureau of Investigation (missing person & weapon search)

Corinth, MS Polic & MS Parks & Wildlife (vehicle & body recovery)

Collins County TX Sheriff's office & Victim's Family (vehicle & body recovery)

Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (missing person search)

Holiday Shores, IL Fire Department  (drowning victim)

Wood River, IL Fire Department (drowning victim)

Addieville, IL Fire Department (drowning victim)

Canyon Lake, TX  (boating accident victim recovery)

Omaha, NE (missing person search)

Eufaula, OK Police Department (weapon search)

Family & Friends of David Cook search on IL and IN border waterways (drowning victim)

Wylie TX Corp of Engineers (training & vehicle recovery)

Texas Parks & Wildlife (training)

Indiana DNR, Plainfield IN (training)

Carlyle Lake, IL Corp of Engineers (training)


Contact information for the above agencies will be supplied upon request. 


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Our Goals

We are currently raising funds to purchase an ROV (remote operation vehicle) which is a robotic underwater camera with sonar.  This will significantly improve our ability to locate and image underwater and will also help reduce the number of divers will have to go down to confirm or eliminate objects..  We hope to raise the funds to purchase this equipment in order to better assist law enforcement and shorten search times by potentially days or weeks.  We are a not-for-profit organization and as such, all donations to this cause will be tax deductible and a receipt for taxes will be provided. 


Awards and Recognition

  • Southern Pro Pro Staff Page
  • Crappie USA Profile
  • 2000  President's Award from Crappie USA
  • 2005  Humanitarian Award from Crappie USA
  • 2005  Outstanding Citizen Award from Southwestern Illinois Law Enforcement Commission
  • 2007  Volunteer of the Year Award from Texas EquuSearch
  • 2007  Certificate of Appreciation from Illinois Department of Natural Resources
  • 2007  Salem, WI Fire and Rescue Certificate of Appreciation

Newspaper Articles on Searches                        Articles on Equipment & Fishing

Alton Telegraph 5/6/05                                                            The Paducah Sun 4/13/02 

Alton Telegraph 5/14/05                                                           RPM for Truckers 2/1/08

Alton Telegraph 7/26/05                                                           The Milwaukee Business Journal 3/7/08

Muskogee Phoenix 10/10/06

The Pantagraph 3/23/07

The Pantagraph 3/24/07

Chicago Tribune 1/6/08

Waco Tribune 12/18/08

Rowlett Lakeshore Times 12/30/08

Lafayette Journal & Courier 12/31/08

Paducah Sun 2/26/09

Photo Albums

Includes sonar images of  items located.  Out of respect for families, however,  no body images are included.


            Search Photos         Awards & Newspapers            Sonar Images         


Multi-Media                                                                                        Links to Searchers & Divers

High Tech Trolling for Crappie available at and                                                Tim Knight of Nautical Adventures   Recovery diving and salvage diving



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All photos and articles used with permission of author or photographer.  Permissions on file with Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery Inc.  Use of an article, site link or photograph on this site does not indicate endorsement by the site, author or photographer of Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery Inc.   All documents for informational purposes only.  All articles and photos copyright of the original author or photographer and may not be used without their written permission.  Contact Team Watters Sonar Search & Recovery Inc. . for contact information for the original author or photographer.  Using items from this site without the proper permissions from the original copyright holder could result in prosecution under Federal copyright violation laws and may lead to civil or criminal penalties. 

This site was last updated 06/27/13