The Marin SAR team participates in specialized team training programs.

Team members brave the elements of the Marin Headlands. Photos courtesy of Marin SAR

Seventeen Marin County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue Unit members braved the wind and rain in the Marin Headlands for a rope rescue technician class. The class focused on ascending and descending, rescue scenarios in trees and steep angle ambulatory rescues.
Marin SAR is an all-volunteer organization with over 100 members whose mission is to provide search and rescue services to Marin County and California 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In the past five years, Marin SAR has served over 140,000 hours, participated in more than 60 life-saving missions in Marin County and statewide and logged more than 70,000 training hours.
“We have approximately 10 full team training sessions annually and members are required to complete an 80 hour boot camp when they join the team,” said Michael St. John, Marin SAR unit leader.
Additionally, all members are required to complete 60 hours of medical training as well as specialized training including man tracking, off-road, UTV vehicle operations, technical rescue, search management and coordination and winter snow operations.
The team also provides an opportunity for young people in Marin to develop life skills in a supervised environment while helping those in need. The only mountain rescue team in the United States with high school age members, teens have opportunities to train and even respond on most missions.
“Right now the team is composed of two-thirds adult members and one third high school-aged members. It’s not uncommon to have a 16 or 17 year old in charge of adults, depending on the expertise required,” St. John said.
Marin SAR was recently awarded a $5,000 Giving Marin grant and plans to use the funds for medical equipment and training aids that will support the team’s ability to provide in-field emergency care and necessary training experiences. Equipment purchased with these funds will include splints, gear bags, hypothermia management gear, medical training mannequins, single use medical supplies and AED supplies. For more information, visit


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.