The Southern Marin Fire Dive Team has been providing dive rescue and assistance to the area since 1984. Originally comprised of several fire and law agencies, it is now fully staffed by SMFD personnel.
The team participates in monthly training and is currently an asset to the Marin County Urban Search and Rescue Team (USAR). This level of training can allow for deployment on a state and national level as needed for major disasters.
The team complies with NFPA 1670 standards on Fire Service Dive Operations. An equipment cache includes dry suits, SCUBA gear with full face masks and voice communications. All divers are certified for Open Water, Dive Rescue 1, and most are Swift Water Technician 1 certified. The majority of divers are officers and paramedics, and all SMFD personnel are trained as dive team support. Divers are required to complete 5 skilled dives annually at a minimum.
Dispatch is through the Marin County Communications Center who will will ascertain the call as a dive, a rescue, or a recovery. A Southern Marin Battalion Chief will be dispatched as well to oversee the team operation.
The team can be en route in 2 to 3 minutes and the primary platform is a 16' Achilles inflatible rescue boat (IRB-1) powered by a 50 HP Yamaha outboard engine. This vessel allows for a crew of three; a primary diver, a secondary diver, and a dive tender.
The IRB-1 is versatile as it can be used for surf, cliff, and beach rescues utilizing its 1 foot draft. The team carries ALS equipment and Marine band radios for communication with the US Coast Guard.
Another option is to use the dive platform at the stern of Fireboat Liberty which was specifically designed to suit the team's needs. Rescue 9 also has a full compliment for two divers and can rendezvous at the launch within minutes.
If you would like more information regarding the SMFD Dive Team, please contact Captain Matthew Bouchard at 415-388-8182.