The Marin County Sheriff’s Office
Dive Team is made up of 10 members and a commander. All of the members are
full-time sworn deputy sheriffs devoted to providing professional level diving
services to all of Marin County. Public Safety Divers perform underwater search
and recovery of drowning victims or evidence of crimes in addition to providing
services to other counties within California and are available to assist in
The dive team was first formed
using volunteers. In the early to mid-1980’s, the team was converted to
full-time sworn deputies. At that time it consisted of 4 divers using their own
equipment and no formal underwater search and rescue training. Since then,
members attend monthly training; dive operations are typically done in cold
water with little to no visibility and a high probability of entanglement,
members perform extensive training to make sure divers are as safe as possible.
All members are public safety divers and have completed ERD1 Emergency Rescue
Diver 1 training.
Through donations and public
safety state grants, the Marin County Sheriff’s Dive Team outfits each member
with modern dive gear including but not limited to dry-suits, buoyancy control
device (BCD) and full face masks. Divers use a hard wired surface to diver /
diver to diver communication system and an underwater Remote Operated Vehicle
(ROV) to assist in dive operations. One of the most recent acquisitions will
enable the Dive Team to transition to surface supplied air using a diver’s
umbilical and a Surface Supplied Breathing Apparatus (SSBA).
Marin County Sheriff’s Dive
Team’s equipment is top of the line and has dedicated utility vehicles for
training or in the event of a call out. Dive team’s current vehicles are a
utility van (retired ambulance) and a 4X4 F350 with a 25 foot trailer. Marin
County Sheriff’s Dive Team is an integral component with the Marine Patrol.
Members have trained with other agencies including Southern Marin Fire
Department, Contra Costa County and the California Highway Patrol. Contra Costa
County, Sonoma County and California Highway Patrol have helicopters that were
utilized to shuttle divers from the shore to the middle of the bay.
Since the early 1980’s, when the
Dive Team became made up of full-time sworn Deputies, they have assisted in
searching for a helicopter crash, murder victims, suicide victims as well as
persons who have been involved in accidents such as car crashes and boating
accidents. Dive Team members have assisted with these types of calls locally in
Marin County as well as other surrounding counties.
Divers helped recover numerous
gym bags containing body parts from the Mokelumne River on the Sacramento
Delta. The bags contained the dismembered body parts of three murder victims
who were part of a murder spree during which five people were killed by three
suspects out of Concord. They have also searched
for a kidnapped girl in Vallejo; the recovery of a suicide victim who drove her
car into Stafford Lake; the search for the body of a boater in Lake Sonoma and
the recovery of a teenage boy who drowned while fishing at a ranch reservoir.
Along with many more cases.
Dive team members also assisted
the Modesto Police Department in their underwater search of the bay for
evidence in the Laci Peterson case.
Recently Dive team members
assisted Mendocino County with locating the body of a drowning victim. They
also assisted with the San Rafael Police Department with searching for evidence
in a homicide case; assisted with the search of the missing elderly couple in
West Marin and the recovery of a body and vehicle after an accident in Bel