The San Diego Lifeguard Service operates several fire/rescue vessels which are used for marine firefighting, search and rescue and law enforcement. These specialized boats have the ability to pump approximately 1,000 gallons of seawater per minute using either a bow-mounted monitor or by connecting fire hoses to deck-mounted standpipes. They are also capable of pumping 300 gallons per minute out of sinking vessels.
They are particularly well equipped to search for lost vessels using Automatic Direction Finders (ADF), which allows the rescuing vessels to home in on distress signals, Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) tracking equipment, and radar. Lifeguards are able to successfully complete rescue missions even in dense fog and darkness. Lifeguards assigned to these vessels are issued full firefighter personal protective equipment and the vessels carry several self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) for entering smoke-filled environments.
The Fire/Rescue boats are the biggest vessels in the lifeguard fleet, making them ideal platforms for dive search and recovery and are also outfitted with self-contained underwater breathing apparatus equipment for underwater searches. Automated external defibrillators are on board with other basic medical equipment required to assist with medical emergencies up to three miles off the coast.