MARIN COUNTY -- Charles Quaid, known by friends and family as "Charlie," was no stranger to the ocean.

An avid sailor, the Richmond resident tragically died Tuesday afternoon after being swept out to sea by a treacherous wave while walking with his wife and their dog at Point Reyes National Seashore.

"He was a very engaged, very active person," said his wife of six years, Lisa Quaid. "Life was never boring with Charlie."

Quaid, 59, was on the beach with his wife and dog about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday when a wave swept the two people into the water, said Marin County Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Giannini.

California Highway Patrol and Coast Guard helicopters searched for the man for hours along with fire crews, Giannini said.

Quaid's body was found at 4 p.m. and he was pronounced dead at the scene, Giannini said. His body was taken to the Coast Guard facility at Bodega Bay.

Lisa Quaid was evaluated by paramedics and released with no injuries, Giannini said. The dog also was not injured.

"This is an example of the long-standing adage, 'Never turn your back on the ocean,' " Giannini said, describing the unusually large wave that swept the couple into the water as a "sneaker wave."

At home with family and friends on Wednesday, Lisa Quaid said she and her husband could be doing anything, be it frequenting the Oakland Art Murmur or simply going for a walk, and she would have fun "no matter what."

"There are so many memories, I can't pick just one," she said.


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A lover of art and a connoisseur of ceviche -- his favorite dish, according to his wife -- Quaid also served as the chief financial officer of the Pacific Business Group on Health, a health care consulting firm in San Francisco, for the past three years.

Funeral services for Quaid are pending, his wife said Wednesday.

Large, sudden waves are common in the area, and Giannini urged beachgoers to be vigilant when walking there.

"You don't necessarily know what the size of a wave will be at any time," Giannini said. "We presume them all to be more or less the same, but there are times when large waves will come up on the shoreline and take people by surprise."

On Dec. 28, 9-year-old Juan Carlos Escamillo-Monroy, of San Francisco, was swept into the bay by a large wave while fishing with his father on the Marin Headlands. His father, 37-year-old Juan Escamillo-Rojas, clung to some rocks along the Bonita Cove shoreline after the wave hit, but his son was swept away and the father died trying to save him.

Contact Janis Mara at jmara@marinij.com or follow her at Twitter.com/jmara. Contact Katie Nelson at knelson@bayareanewsgroup.com or follow her at Twitter.com/katienelson210.