Surfers rescued from Tomales Bay riptide


Several agencies from Marin and Sonoma counties helped rescue two surfers trapped in the riptide on Tomales Bay off Dillon Beach Wednesday, according to a fire official.

Reports came in around 10 a.m. about at least one surfer in distress, Marin County Fire Department Senior Capt. Tom Nunes said. Nunes and another firefighter, who are based at the Tomales station, went to an area near the beach and spotted what appeared to be a surfer caught in a riptide.

Nunes said he called for a coordinated response and set up a command post at the beach. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office’s helicopter Henry 1 spotted the surfer, landed on the beach and set up a tethered line for a medic. The crew flew out 200 yards, picked up the surfer and brought him to the beach.

The second surfer, who had became separated from his surfboard and washed up on the rocks, made it to the beach and was evaluated by an ambulance crew. Both men were checked by paramedics but did not require aid.

Nunes said the rescue is part of a pre-planned response by many agencies:

“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.”

The U.S. Coast Guard at Bodega Bay and Two Rock, National Park Service, Tomales Volunteer Fire Department, Bodega Bay Fire Protection District and Marin County Sheriff’s Office also responded to the rescue.

The National Weather service has issued a high surf advisory and high rip current advisory through Saturday along the Pacific coastal area of Marin County, Nunes said. Visitors are advised to watch for sneaker waves and large breaking waves as part of a long period of west swell and offshore winds.

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