The Southern Marin Fire District’s Dive Team has been providing subsurface dive rescue and recovery service to the area since 1984. The team was originally comprised of several different fire and law agencies. Now it is fully staffed by SMFD personnel and is considered a SF Bay area wide asset. The team is listed as an available resource in the Sector San Francisco Area Maritime Security Plan.
The team is composed of 15 Public Safety Rescue Divers that maintain compliance with NFPA 1670 and 1006 operational and safety standards. The SMFD Dive Team maintains a 24/7 operational staffing commitment to the region. Many different variables make up a victim survivability profile. It is the goal of the SMFD to be a Dive rescue team vs recovery team. Deploying divers within the lifesaving window of opportunity is our mission. All team members are trained to conduct search and recovery operations in zero visibility, confined spaces, and moving water. Over half of the members are paramedics and will always respond with a full complement of advanced life support equipment.
We utilize a variety of different emergency deployment options based on the incident type and location. Personnel and gear can be delivered to the scene via Rescue Squad 9, Dive Tender 1, 36’ Fireboat, 16’ inflatable rescue boat, or via helicopter. Any emergency dispatches will be supported by SMFD command staff personnel.
The team conducts emergency operations with state of the art equipment. Wireless communications, full face masks, drysuits, and redundant air supply are a minimum ensemble for all divers. The majority of the equipment was funded by local, state and federal grants.
SMFD Dive Team members train monthly throughout the region with our public safety partners. Helicopter deployment training with the California Highway Patrol and USCG are conducted annually. We train with and support the Marin County Sheriff’s Department. We host regional training in Sausalito with Alameda County S.O., San Francisco Fire and Police departments, and the Stockton Fire Department. The Army Corp of Engineers Bay Model supports the our team by providing a site and heavy equipment operators to launch and recover our training vehicle. Each member is required to perform a minimum of 5 zero visibility skills dives annually to remain active.
If you would like more information regarding the SMFD Dive Team, please contact Captain Matthew Bouchard at 415-388-8182.