Born out of necessity, the districts water rescue program was designed to provide quick response to water emergencies. Some local agencies provide marine patrols in the summer months but during the rest of the year, the US Coast Guard station in Tahoe City was the only agency equipped to handle on the water emergencies.
Our rescue boat is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is capable of operating in rough water and the dark of night with the use of the same night vision equipment used by military helicopter pilots. We are the only agency on the east shore of Lake Tahoe capable of operating in all conditions.
The district purchased their first rescue craft in the early 80’s allowing us to quickly respond to emergencies on the east shore. Two boats later, the district now responds to emergencies with Marine 4, a 19 foot, rigid hull inflatable with EMS, rescue and fire fighting capabilities.
Effective for quick deployment for rescue, the craft is also capable of delivering 1000 gallons of water each minute to fight vessel fires and supply water directly from the lake to support fire fighting operations on land. Each year Marine 4 responds to dozens of requests ranging from boating accidents to calls for assistance.
District personnel are trained in rapid extrication of victims from the water and are equipped with specialized dry suits allowing us to operate in all weather conditions. Water temperatures in Lake Tahoe can drop as low as 40 degrees in the winter making rapid response to on the water emergencies essencial.
Working with American Honda Company, the Fire District has the capability of launching two PWC Honda Auqatrax 1200. These PWCs allow rapid access to emergencies on the water. Working in conjunction with Marine 4, we have the flexibility of mitigating emergencies from rescues to Hazardous Materials containment.
Additionally, the District operates a specialized underwater rescue team consisting of trained rescue divers.