County of Marin - News Releases - Surfers Rescued

For Immediate Release
February 12, 2015

2 Surfers Rescued at Dillon Beach

Riptides prompt successful multi-agency effort; no injuries reported

Dillon Beach, CA – A coordinated effort from several agencies Thursday morning led to the rescue of two surfers caught in riptides on Tomales Bay a few hundred yards off Dillon Beach.

A helicopter called Henry 1 lands on the beach at Dillon Beach in preparation for a water rescue.One man was plucked from 8-foot surf by the crew from Henry 1, the Sonoma County Sheriff Department’s rescue helicopter based in Santa Rosa. The other man washed up on the rocks nearby just north of the Day Beach area and made his way back to the beach. Both men were checked by paramedics and did not require aid.

Tom Nunes, Senior Captain with the Marin County Fire Department based at the Tomales station, said reports came in just after 10 a.m. of at least one surfer in distress. Nunes and another firefighter went to a location near the beach to look onto Tomales Bay and spotted what appeared to be one surfer possibly caught in a riptide. Nunes activated a coordinated response and set up a command post at the beach.

The helicopter arrived and spotted the surfer in distress, then landed on the beach and set up a tethered line for a medic. The crew flew out about 200 yards and picked up the surfer and brought him to the beach. The second surfer, who had become separated from his surfboard, made his way over rocks to the beach for an evaluation by an ambulance crew. No other information was released about the surfers.

In addition to Marin County Fire and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Department, personnel from the U.S. Coast Guard at Bodega Bay and Two Rock participated in the rescue as did first responders from the National Park Service, the Bodega Bay Fire Protection District and the Marin County Sheriff’s Office.

“Over time, our organization identified the need for pre-planned responses like this so we’re not having to piecemeal a plan together,” Nunes said. “We swarm the incident with resources and then cut out what’s not needed as we establish command and control. Things have been going smoothly with all the buy-in of agencies, and we’ve rendered a lot of positive outcomes like this one.”

A high surf advisory and high rip current advisory are in effect through Saturday along the Pacific coastal areas of Marin, according to the National Weather Service. Beach visitors are advised to watch for sneaker waves and large breaking waves as part of a long period of west swell and offshore winds.

Photo caption: The crew of Henry 1, the Sonoma County Sheriff's Department rescue helicopter, prepares to make a water rescue just off Dillon Beach.


Tom Nunes
Senior Captain
Marin County Fire Department

Tomales Fire Station
599 Dillon Beach Road
Tomales, CA 94973
(707) 878-2464
Email: Tom Nunes
Marin County Fire website