County of Marin - News Releases - Kayak Rescue

For Immediate Release
September 13, 2015

54 Kayakers Rescued From Tomales Bay

Multiple agencies fight darkness and cold to save dozens of people

Woodacre, CA – Caught in hazardous conditions on Tomales Bay, 54 kayakers participating in a bioluminescence paddle tour were rescued late Saturday night and early Sunday morning by a multi-agency response led by the Marin County Fire Department (MCFD). Two people were treated for mild hypothermia, but no hospitalizations were required.

Shortly before 10 p.m. Saturday, emergency dispatchers received a report of a capsized boat on Tomales Bay in the area of Hog Island. While rescue units responded, new information came in that approximately 60 kayakers were in distress and in need of rescue. The paddlers, all wearing life jackets, were seeking to view bioluminescent water animals that naturally emit light. All but two kayakers were part of the organized tour.

MCFD launched rescue watercraft from the Tomales and Point Reyes fire stations, and additional resources were requested from the National Park Service and the Southern Marin Fire District.

The kayakers, including a few professional guides, later said the winds increased during the tour and conditions became hazardous. They paddled to Hog Island and Pelican Point, where they were picked up by rescue watercraft and inflatable boats and delivered to Nicks Cove near Marshall for assessment by medical personnel. Multiple trips were required to retrieve all 54 kayakers. The rescues were completed just before 1 a.m. Sunday.

“It serves as a reminder to everyone visiting and recreating on the coast,” said MCFD Chief Jason Weber. “The ocean and weather can be powerful and unpredictable.

“The professional guides did a good job getting the kayakers to the island and beach,” said MCFD Battalion Chief Chris Martinelli. “This is an example of some incredible teamwork from multiple agencies.”

In addition to MCFD, Southern Marin Fire and the National Park Service, the effort included aid from the California Highway Patrol, the Novato Fire District, Stinson Beach Fire Department, and the Tomales Volunteer Fire Department.


Jason Weber
Marin County Fire Department

33 Castle Rock Ave.
Woodacre, CA 94973
(415) 473-6717
Email: Jason Weber
Marin County Fire website