Mandalay Beach (Oxnard): water rescue that wasn’t

Jet skiier flips in high surf during Santa Ana winds

By George Miller

Oxnard Fire Dept executed a textbook response to a call reporting a jet skiier in distress in the surf near Oxnard Beach Park (Mandalay Beach)  about 1:45 PM today. We saw a large procession of vehicles, from hook & ladder trucks down to a pickup truck on steroids with a surboard on top. In addition to Oxnard FD, a  lifeguard unit and State Parks truck were also on-site.

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One of multiple rescue units responding to a call about a jet skiier in distress near Oxnard Beach Park (Mandalay Beach) on 1-25-15. (Photo:

By the time Citizens Journal arrived on the scene, things were well in hand. We saw no activity on the water, so turning our attention to vehicles on the beach, a Captain pointed us to a truck with the “rescuee” in it.

The Santa Ana offshore winds were peaking surf to up over 8′ and very steep. The subject explained to Oxnard Fire Department Battalion Chief Darwin Base and Citizens Journal how he got caught by one and thrown down hard, but he said he didn’t hit the bottom. Fire Dept personnel told me that he was already on the beach when they got there- a bit rattled, but intact. He seemed a little sheepish about having  all those people and equipment on scene on his behalf. When I shook his hand I noted that he was not at all cold.

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Jet skier explains to FD Battalion Chief Darwin Base and CJ how he was flipped over by a large steep breaking wave. (Photo:

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Subject’s jet ski is winched off the beach at Oxnard Beach Park 1-25-15 (Photo:

It is comforting to know that the fire dept can so quickly summon such a large contingent of fire fighters and equipment on such short notice, including specialized gear designed to work the beaches, including jet skis and surf boards. I also noted that Battalion Chief Darwin Base and at least one captain were on the scene.  We also heard that Fire Department Chief Williams was there, too. When I asked Chief Base why so much equipment was brought to the scene, he told me that policy calls for both a water and a land-based team for water rescues.

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Oxnard FD rescue team retrieves subject’s jet ski from Oxnard Beach Park waterline 1-25-15. (Photo:


Playing in surf on jetskis is only suitable for experts, especially in hazardous conditions like today, where 30-35 mph NE Santa Ana winds were pushing the surf steeper than usual. While he may not have needed rescuing, fire dept. paramedics checked him out and they winched his jet ski off the beach. Launching in that surf looked like it would be no picnic.  We don’t know if the jet ski was damaged.


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Sign at Oxnard Beach Park, near the site of Jetski beaching 1-25-15


George Miller is Publisher of and a “retired” operations management consultant, active in civic affairs, living in Oxnard.


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