A husband who drowned trying to help his wife and dog after they were knocked down by high surf near a stretch of beach on Point Reyes National Seashore New Year’s Day has been identified as a Richmond resident.
Charles Francis Quaid, 59, was found in the Pacific Ocean and recovered by a U.S. Coast Guard lifeboat around 4 p.m. Jan. 1. He was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was transported to the Coast Guard’s Bodega Bay station.
Multiple emergency agencies responded to the shore about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday after the Marin County Fire Department received report of two adults being swept into the water, Marin fire officials said.
According to witness accounts, the couple and their dog were walking a stretch of Point Reyes beach known as Ten-Mile Beach when a large wave crashed into the woman and the dog. The husband was attempting to help them when a series of waves swept him into the ocean.
His body was recovered several hours later.
“Quaid went to help them, but witnesses said he was knocked down by a series of waves and swept out to sea,” National Park Service ranger John Golda said.
The waves were between 10 and 12 feet high at the time and not unusual for that stretch of beach or time of the year, Golda said. There was no high surf advisory at the time of the incident, officials said.
“Everyone who visits the ocean needs to remember the old adage that you should never turn your back on the ocean,” Marin County Fire Battalion Chief Mike Giannini said.
“This time of year certainly brings higher surf and higher tides,” Giannini said. “But anytime you’re near the water, you must have a keen understanding of the risk and take nothing for granted. We live in a beautiful area, but sometimes that comes with a risk that must be acknowledged.”
Quaid had worked as director of finance and administration for the past three years at the Pacific Business Group on Health in San Francisco. He was responsible for accounting operations and managing investment activity, among other duties, according to the company’s website.
Founded in 1989, the company works with health insurance plans, physicians groups and consumer organizations to improve the quality and affordability of health care.
David Lansky, company president and CEO, said Quaid was remembered Wednesday by colleagues as a man with varied interests that included bird watching in Bodega, long-distance cycling and most recently sailing.
“He was always walking or riding his bike with this dog,” Lansky said. “He was just admired, respected and appreciated for his integrity and friendship in the workplace.”
According to the Point Reyes National Seashore website, visitors are warned of “sneaker waves,” that can occur anytime and drag beachgoers out to sea.
“This serves as a reminder for people on the beach to be aware of the dangers out there,” U.S. Coast Guard Lt. Josh Dykman said.
The fire department and a Coast Guard helicopter arrived near the scene about 20 minutes after first receiving the report. The man’s wife and dog were rescued by beach bystanders. She was evaluated by paramedics at the scene and released, Giannini said.
The Southern Marin Fire Protection District, Inverness Fire Department and the California Highway Patrol also responded to the incident, officials said.
A multi-agency water rescue team also provided two jet skis, Golda said.
Quaid would always share his excitement and passion for new discoveries that included music, places he visited and other interests, Lansky said.
Quaid was passionate about the Oakland A’s, but donned Giants attire during a company outing at AT&T Park in San Francisco last season. He recently attended spring training in Arizona, Lansky said.
According to the company’s website, Quaid also worked at chief financial officer at Yosemite National Institute in Sausalito, an environmental organization that provides field-based science programs for K-12 students in cooperation with several national parks.
Quaid’s fatal drowning comes days after a San Francisco father and son fishing near Bonita Cove by the Point Reyes Lighthouse drowned after a large wave swept the two into the waters Friday, Dec. 28.
Juan Escamillo-Rojas, 37, and his son, Juan Carlos Escamillo-Monroy, 9, lived in San Francisco. The father had entered the water trying to save his son. Both bodies were recovered and pronounced dead at Coast Guard Station Golden Gate.
A memorial for Quaid is being planned.
Bay City News contributed to this report.
Contact Joe Wolfcale at firstname.lastname@example.org.