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Marine Rescue Dive Unit

Marine Rescue Dive Unit

The King County Sheriff’s Office Marine Rescue Dive Unit (MRDU) deploys specially trained and equipped Deputies that are responsible for water-related law enforcement, investigations, rescue and recovery work.

Operational areas include Puget Sound, Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish and other lakes, ponds and rivers throughout the unincorporated areas of King County, cities / towns that contract for service and any other jurisdiction that requests specific assistance.

Services include:
• Patrol of waterways
• Emergency response and rescue
• Firefighting and dewatering
• Accident investigation / reconstruction
• Safety inspections
• Derelict vessel investigations
• Investigation and removal of vessels dumped on public land
• Hazard removal
• Victim recovery and investigation
• Evidence search / recovery
• Swiftwater, Flood and Ice rescue
• SCUBA diving
• Helicopter deployment - Hoist and Diver insertion
• River large wood mitigation investigations
• Buoy placement and maintenance
• Boater and water safety education
• Maritime Security Operations
• Spill response and containment


Public Safety SCUBA Diving

Deputies are trained and equipped public safety SCUBA divers that primarily dive in cold waters with little to no visibility, including moving water (rivers). Deputies receive specialized training in underwater evidence searches and evidence, victim and vehicle recoveries. Deputies utilize underwater cameras, metal detectors and a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) equipped with sonar, video and a gabber jaw. Divers can be deployed by helicopter into remote and hard to reach areas.

Swiftwater, Flood and Ice Rescue

Deputies are trained and equipped in swiftwater, flood and ice rescue and recovery operations. Deputies utilize special equipment to conduct rescues and recoveries in and around rivers, flooded areas and frozen bodies of water.  Deputies can be lowered by helicopter hoist into remote and hard to reach areas.

Vessel Operations

Deputies are trained in emergency vessel operations.  The MRDU operates vessels of various types, capabilities and sizes that allow deployment on bodies of water almost anywhere (including by helicopter) when needed. 

Vehicle Operations

Deputies drive specially equipped 4x4 trucks to aid in reaching remote areas, tow various vessels and carry a wide assortment of rescue equipment. 

Accidents and Reporting

A boater who is involved in an accident must stop his or her vessel immediately at the scene of the accident and assist injured people or anyone in danger unless doing so would endanger his or her own vessel or passengers.

Washington State law requires the operator of a recreational vessel involved in an accident to file a Washington Boat Accident Report when:
• Loss of life occurs
• Injury occurs which requires medical treatment beyond first aid
• A person disappears from a vessel under circumstances that indicate death or injury
• Property damage is in excess of $2,000 or there is complete loss of a vessel

If there is an injury, disappearance or death, a report must be submitted within 48 hours. Reports in other accidents must be submitted within 10 days. If the operator cannot submit the report, the owner of the vessel is responsible.

The law enforcement agency of jurisdiction is required to investigate and submit a Boating Accident Investigation Report (BAIR) whenever the accident results in:
• Injury requiring hospitalization
• Death

A vessel is defined as every description of watercraft on the water used or capable of being used as a means of transportation on the water.

The United States Coast Guard does not investigate or report recreational boating accidents.

Mandatory Boater Education Card

A Boater Education Card is required for all Washington residents born after January 1, 1955, who operate a vessel with a 15 horsepower (or greater) motor.

Call 911 For Water Related Emergencies and Reporting

Life Jackets save lives! Please wear one when out on any boating activity and have at least one life jacket for each person on your boat!

Contact Us

Marine Rescue Dive Unit
5165 Carillon Pt
Kirkland, WA 98033
Non-Emergency Business Phone: (206) 477-3790
Fax: (206) 205-5371

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Cities & Towns That Contract For Service

Town of Beaux Arts Village
City of Bellevue (Lake Sammamish Only)
City of Kenmore
City of Kirkland
City of Lake Forest Park
City of Issaquah
City of Redmond
City of Sammamish


Notification of Marine Event / Variance

E-mail the completed form to the MRDU two weeks prior to the event to allow sufficient time for processing.



Related Information

Washington State Parks Boating Program   

Boating Regulations, Laws & Impaired Operation

Vessel Title and Registration Rules & Renewal

Derelict Vessels

Washington State Department of Natural Resources Derelict Vessel Removal Program