Dive Rescue Team

The SFD Dive Rescue Team, located at Engine Company 6, rescues citizens trapped or injured in the surrounding waterways.  Approximately 1,000 miles of waterways surround the City of Stockton.  These waterways are used all year by boaters and during the summer, the numbers can increase to the hundreds on any given day.


Since its start in 1993, the Water Rescue program has grown from a few Swift Water Technicians to a fully operational Dive Team who can provide advanced cardiac life support.


The Water Rescue Team is staffed 24 hours a day with a 3-person crew assigned to both Engine 6 and the Water Rescue Unit.  The Team has a support vehicle known as Water Rescue 6, a 2007 Ford F-550 Superduty with:

  • four sets of complete diving gear, additional tanks, and pony bottles, 
  • an inflatable boat mounted on top of the vehicle, and
  • support equipment for a surface or dive rescue.


Response Teams

The Stockton Fire Water Rescue Team averages 30-35 responses a year for surface and dive rescues.  The response times, within the city limits, are usually 10-15 minutes from call to entry into the water, and calls out of Stockton can vary from 20-30 minutes.


The Stockton Fire Water Rescue Team operates in rescue mode; the objective is to save lives. A volunteer Drowning Accident Rescue Team (DART) from Sacramento Co. and Lathrop/Manteca's dive team, perform most of the recoveries in this county.


The Team responds with two members dressed for either surface or subsurface operations.  En route, the two members in dive gear decide who is primary and who is back up. The other two positions are Dive Tender and 90% Safety Diver.


The standard response for a water rescue call includes Water Rescue 6, a Battalion Chief and Truck 2, a technical rescue truck.  The Water Rescue Team works closely with the Technical Rescue Team. These two teams, along with the Hazardous Materials Team, make up the Stockton Fire Department Special Operations Team. Many members are crossed trained in all disciplines.



Each member on the Team is trained through Scuba Diving International (SDI) and Emergency Response Divers International (ERDI). Certifications include:

  • Open Water Diver
  • ERD1/ERD2
  • Contaminated Water Diving
  • Drysuit
  • Full Face Mask

These training dives take place in the Delta waterways, the University of the Pacific Aquatics Center and area lakes and rivers, including trips to Monterey Bay.


Prior to this training, Water Rescue Team candidates must first go through a rigorous screening process that includes:

  • a physical exam with swim tests that require being in the water for 60-90 minutes, and
  • an oral board interview by current Water Rescue Team members.


The Stockton Fire Department has standardized diving gear including:

  • Aqualung Haz-Mat Drysuits,
  • Interspiro AGA full-faced mask with communications,
  • buoyancy compensators (BC's), regulators, and gauges, and
  • MK7 Comm lines and pony bottles.


If you would like to know more about the Stockton Fire Department Water Rescue Team, please contact Stockton Fire Department Administration or send correspondence to Company 6.



External Links



This City of Stockton web page last reviewed on --- 3/18/2021