The Marine Patrol Unit operates a 32 foot Almar patrol boat, “Rescue One” patrolling the waters of Marin County. The boat is equipped with state of the art technology including a forward looking infrared camera, radar, global positioning system, night vision binoculars, and a directional finder that allows Rescue One to hone in on radio signals to locate distressed vessels. The boat includes a dewatering/fire fighting pump, towlines, rescue equipment, and medical supplies.
The Marine Patrol Unit also operates a 24’ Almar Rigid Hull Inflatable boat powered by twin 150 HP Mercury Optimax outboard engines. The 24’ RHI is a vessel jointly utilized by the Marin Sheriff’s Dive Team. Both of these vessels were purchased by federal and state grants. In addition to the patrol boats, the Marine Unit operates two Wave Runners that were donated by Yamaha to provide water safety. Personal watercraft allow rescue and law enforcement operations in shallow water where patrol vessels are unable to operate.
The Marine Patrol Unit consists of one commander and one full time Deputy. In addtion, there are two Deputies who are assigned to the unit as a part-time, collateral duty. There are 10 marine patrol reserves, a volunteer group, who ride with the full time deputies as support staff. The reserve unit donates over 1,000 volunteer hours per year maintaining and operating Rescue One.
The primary area of patrol extends from Point Bonita outside the Golden Gate Bridge to San Antonio Creek on the Petaluma River. This area encompasses 59 miles of shoreline and over 90 square miles of water within the Marin County border. The unit also provides patrol along the coastal waterways of Marin County from the Golden Gate Bridge to Tomales Bay.
Part of Rescue One’s mission is water safety and education. Vessels operating in an unsafe condition are stopped and advised of the rules of the road, safety equipment needed, local and state boating laws.
We provide assistance to distressed or disabled vessels by towing them to the nearest port. Other duties include responding to capsized vessels, aiding persons in the water, conducting accident investigations, and rescuing stranded or exhausted windsurfers. We are equipped with a portable dewatering /fire pump that can be transferred to a sinking vessel or be used to fight marine fires. We are equipped to respond to medical emergencies on the water.
The unit enforces local and state boating laws. These laws include but are not limited to: unsafe speed, registration checks, safety equipment requirements, and boating under the influence enforcement. The marine unit conducts boardings and safety inspections, and is on the watch for unsafe conduct and negligent boat operation. The unit conducts Fish and Game checks as needed. We also assist land based law enforcement agencies with water related crimes. Rescue One also monitors environmental concerns for hazardous waste, oil spills, and other pollution problems as well as enforcement of the Fish and Game laws.
As a result of 9/11, the marine unit has provided assistance to Federal Law Enforcement Agencies on a number of occasions. The marine unit has been deployed on a number of circumstances that required an investigation of suspicious subjects on vessels near sensitive areas (Bridges) within and/or bordering the Marin County waterways. The unit continues to provide homeland security services to assist federal agencies (U.S. Coast Guard) on an as needed basis. When on patrol, the marine patrol personnel continue to maintain a vigilant watch for suspicious activity on the waterways.
Searching for overdue vessels, missing persons, drowning victims, suicide victims from the Golden Gate Bridge and Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and rescue of injured persons on the water are all part of the duties of the unit. In addition, we work closely with the Coast Guard and other law enforcement agencies. We are also trained to conduct helicopter hoist operations from the deck of Rescue One.
The Marine Unit works closely with the Marin County Sheriff’s Dive Team on recovery operations. The marine unit provides a support platform for the dive team and has participated in a number of operations involving victim and evidence recovery.