For more than five decades, the Los Angeles Fire Department has been a national leader in public safety diving. The LAFD Dive Team started in 1960 as a way to fight fires beneath wharfs, training firefighters in how best to use scuba gear and navigate the murky waters in, around and beneath wharfs. As the LAFD grew into an all-risk rescue service, the dive team grew with it. In 1968-69, the LAFD purchased three new fire boats and staffed them with two Divers and one Mate – all firefighters – to serve on platoon duty that would deliver 24/7 care to the coastal community. Eighteen frontline divers and six backup divers would later be joined by an Emergency Medical Service (EMS) water rescue boat and other apparatus to fully serve the Port of Los Angeles and other waterfronts. The LAFD Dive Team is currently one of the largest 24-hour emergency rescue dive teams in the world, providing service to the largest port in the United States.
Today, the mission of the LAFD Dive Team has expanded to include EMS, water rescues, sunken vessels, disaster prevention, Coast Guard mutual aid, tanker ship inspection and more.
As the duties of the LAFD Dive Team expand, so too has the demand to evolve our technology, training and protocols. Our mission, however, remains constant: To provide the highest quality service to Angelenos and all Port of Los Angeles visitors.