ECHO VALLEY PROVINCIAL PARK -- Southern Saskatchewan's lakes and rivers are getting closer to having a trained rescue dog out on the water.

Gusztav, a 17-month-old Portuguese Water Dog, has been working hard with the Amphibious Response Support Unit One (ARSU One) to potentially be Canada's first rescue dog used on a hovercraft.

"He's already had his first successful training session in our hovercraft and has also had a successful training session in the water and jumping off of docks so that's really what we are trying to bring him up to speed on," explains John Maczko, Gusztav's trainer and also the director of operations for ARSU One.

The hovercraft used by ARSU One has been in service for about two years now and can seamlessly transition over land and water and other tough to reach places in rescue situations.

"We don't damage the shoreline whatsoever, and that's extremely important in a place like a provincial park where we don't want all-terrain vehicles coming in and tearing everything apart," said Maczko.

The hovercraft and Gusztav will be out at boat launches in the Qu'Appelle valley most weekends this summer, so people can learn firsthand about water safety and the service ARSU One provides.

The hope is to have Gusztav fully deployable with the hovercraft by summer 2021.

Those interested in learning more about ARSU One and volunteer opportunities can visit their website.