Water Rescue Program Suspended Because of Lack of Funding, Says Firefighter’s Union

Humboldt Bay Firefighters Local No. 652

Humboldt Bay Firefighters Local No. 652

Press release from Humboldt Bay Firefighters Local No. 652:

Humboldt Bay Fire Chief Bill Gillespie has announced the immediate suspension of the department’s water-based swimmer portion of its water rescue program. This program has executed several rescues of live people from Humboldt Bay since its inception seven years ago.

Humboldt Bay Fire has become unable to fund this program due to continued shortfalls in the budget. Swimmer based equipment has been removed from the apparatus and will be stored.
Members of Humboldt Bay Firefighters Local 652, the department’s labor organization, expressed regret over the suspended rescue swimmer based water rescue program. Humboldt Bay Fire will continue to respond to calls for service in our local waters, but will do so as a shore based response. Throw ropes and long handled tools are some of the interventions that can still be employed.

According to Local 652 President Matt McFarland, “Union members are committed to finding budget solutions that will allow a swim based program to be reinstated in the future.”
Humboldt Bay Firefighters Local 652 would also like to remind residents and visitors to remain cautious and vigilant when working or playing on our local waters. Always wear a personal flotation device, and never mix drugs or alcohol with water based activities.

For more information, citizens are encouraged to contact the Firefighters through their website at humboldtbayfirefighters.org, or on Facebook at Humboldt Bay Firefighters Union – Local 652.

NOTE: An earlier version mistakenly attributed this press release to Humboldt Bay Fire.



  • Thinking allowed

    What are the ‘shortfalls?’ Has their budget been reduced or is it like the Federal budget where not increasing funding to levels requested is called a cut even when more is budgeted?

    It’s so hard to keep a handle on these things when California budgets are like musical chairs. The State takes from the county then pays the county. But then some seemsvto be skimmed off with each pass through the budget.

  • Priorities. Priorities. You’ll won’t see cuts like that for Cal-Trans or our prison system, folks! 🙁

  • Sad, very sad..

  • Its-a-sympathy-ploy

    With the addition of Measure-Z funding HBF is having budget shortfalls. How can HBF be in the red with additional money. HBF needs help from a citizen oversight committee to force them to budget.

    • HBF did not receive any Measure Z funding. Only volunteer departments did. All funding for HBF comes from the City of Eureka and the Humboldt Fire Protection District.

      The City of Eureka again just cut there portion of funding around $50,000 to HBF last week.

  • Sleepy Alligator

    That really sucks!

  • So when needed the most, the people who risk their lives trying to save others won’t be available.
    The high number of water related accidents will only increase this summer.

    How about less round- abouts and more funding of our fire department emergency services?

  • So the county is using measure Z funds, a tax approved by voters to fund first responders and emergency services, to pave streets, and a critically important first responder unit is shut down. (Scratches head).

    • Measure Z is a county tax and it’s used for public safety priorities in the county. The City of Eureka and the HFD are responsible for the FD funding.

  • Sorry we can’t save you! Our board of supervisors mismanaged our county funds so you we aren’t covered to actually get in the water! Swim harder!!!

    • Wow people. How long have you lived here (in this country, I mean. Not Humboldt)?

      County Board of Supes= County money= County Departments.

      CITY, (pay attention now) of Eureka=Eureka City Council=Eureka tax money= Eureka Department, i.e, HBF.

      Ya’ll catch that?

  • Veterans friend

    Oh my. Shouldn’t we just tax those growers a little more? How about 100%. They are the obvious scapegoat here. We know only stoned folks fall in the water anyway, and the supes, in their wisdom(?), know where the money is.

    • Sorry Vet but “growers” are the only reason your little community can still thrive, let alone exist.
      Farm tax money will be the only thing saving this county’s roads, our kids schools and emergency programs.
      Get hip with the times. Let go of your narrow minded ways and contribute…instead of sit, type and bitch.
      How about we tax our vets 100% and all the square bears who talk before they think. That’ll create some revenue.
      This article has nothing to do with cultivation. Stay on topic

    • Sleepy Alligator

      Veterans Friend I’m pretty sure I remember a drowning within the past couple of years where the victim was an off duty member of the Coast Guard. There may even have been two of them.

  • blackandwhitesripes

    Lets stick our hands in our pockets, stand around and do nothing until some funds magically appear to spend…
    make it happen for your self!

  • Just seen Sacramento is trying to pass a bill that will create a safe space for heroin users, with doctor supervision, paid for by our taxes. It’s not that there isn’t enough revenue, I believe the politicians just have priorities that aren’t the same as the taxpayers that I know. Roads, schools, fire departments

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