County of Marin - News Releases - Tomales Bay Water Rescues

For Immediate Release
October 04, 2015

High Winds Whip Marin Coast, Capsize Boats

Public safety agencies kept busy with rescues on Tomales Bay

Woodacre, CA – The use of life jackets prevented potential tragedies Saturday when high winds on Tomales Bay prompted the Marin County Fire Department (MCFD) to conduct two water rescues. 

Shortly after 2 p.m., the fire department was alerted to a 32-foot sailboat in distress near Ten Mile Beach off the Point Reyes National Seashore. A man and a woman had left Bodega Bay and were headed toward Berkeley when the winds caused the mast to break. The occupants boarded a dinghy, which quickly capsized.

For 30 minutes, the waves carried the two people to the shoreline where they were located and picked up by a California Highway Patrol helicopter. They were assessed by MCFD paramedics upon arrival to the Abbotts Lagoon parking lot and transported to the hospital. 

“Their survival is largely due to the fact that they were wearing life jackets,” said MCFD Battalion Chief Mike Giannini. “This is a story with a good outcome that could have ended very differently.”

At about the same time, a 14-foot Hobie Cat sailboat overturned on Tomales Bay about a mile south of Nicks Cove in Marshall. Two men, also wearing life jackets, were spotted by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and plucked from the water by MCFD personnel using rescue watercraft. Both men were evaluated by paramedics and did not require transportation to a hospital. 

“Sudden changes in the weather and water conditions can turn a pleasurable outing into a tragedy,” said MCFD Battalion Chief Bill Roberts. “Be prepared for unexpected conditions if you venture out into the water.”

Now in its second year, the MCFD rescue watercraft program saved 25 stranded people over its first 12 months. Approximately 225 personnel from MCFD and partnering agencies have received training through the program, which uses six rescue watercraft and other equipment purchased with funds from a $68,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant.


Mike Giannini
Battalion Chief
Marin County Fire Department

33 Castle Rock Ave.
Woodacre, CA 94973
(415) 473-2595
Email: Mike Giannini
Marin County Fire website