Being founded by Walt “Butch” Hendrick who began teaching diving and rescue in 1960 in Puerto Rico, where he and his family performed many of the off-shore rescue, started an offshore water rescue team, and installed and ran the first and only civilian Hyperbaric Facility in the Caribbean at the time. Since that time Walt has devoted his life to teaching diving, rescue, recovery and diver safety to thousands of fire, police, EMS, military, and sport divers.
Walt conceptualized Lifeguard Systems to further these efforts. In the 1970’s he and the Lifeguard Systems staff trained FDNY Rescue Companies Dive Team for over a hundred hours per year for several years. With the vision of growth and seeing the need to expand this knowledge, Walt moved onto train many other departments including the U.S. Parks Dept., Washington DC FAA, Washington DC FD, South African Dive teams, and diver and teams in over 15 countries.
By the 1980’s Lifeguard Systems had grown with more trainers and a larger teaching area, expanding in, and to, such countries as South Africa, Saudi Arabia, all over the Caribbean, the US, and Canada. Lifeguard trainers became noted public speakers, authors, and award winners. Andrea Zaferes joined the team in 1987 and became the second lead trainer, author, and program creator.
Lifeguard Systems in the 21st century has taken large leaps in many different areas. Public Safety divers and surface water rescue personnel can now take any of 25 different programs that are of the highest standard world-wide. Fire Engineering/Pennwell Publishing published Surface Ice Rescue, Public Safety Diving, and Ice Diving Operations. TeamLGS founded RIPTIDE, a nonprofit organization, devoted to homicidal drowning investigation and research, recovery operations, and public safety diver and water rescue technician accident prevention.