The Marine Patrol Unit operates a 33-foot SAFE patrol boat, “Rescue One” patrolling the waters of Marin County. The boat is equipped with triple 350 HP Suzuki outboard engines and state of the art technology including a forward-looking infrared camera, radar, global positioning system, side scanning sonar, and radiological nuclear detection equipment. Additional equipment includes a dewatering/firefighting pump, towlines, rescue equipment, and medical supplies.
The Marine Patrol Unit also operates a 27-foot Almar Rigid Hull Inflatable boat powered by twin 225 HP Yamaha outboard engines. The 27-foot RHI is a vessel jointly utilized by the Marin Sheriff’s Dive Team. Both vessels were purchased by federal and state grants.
The Marine Patrol Unit consists of one commander and two full time Deputies.
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 the Golden Gate Bridge, Richmond San Rafael Bridge, Angel Island; Sausalito, Tiburon, and Larkspur Ferry Terminals; twenty-one Marinas, fifty-nine miles of shoreline and over 90 square miles of water within the Marin County border. The unit additionally patrols along the coastal waterways of Marin County from the Golden Gate Bridge to Tomales Bay, where our jurisdiction extends out three miles.
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.