He retired from lifeguarding in 2011, but B. Chris Brewster is just as involved in aquatic safety today as he has been for the past 25 years. (His own experience as a professional lifeguard has included dramatic rescues everywhere from ocean cliffs to flooding rivers.)

Brewster, the former lifeguard chief for the city of San Diego, currently volunteers his time and considerable expertise as president of the U.S. Lifesaving Association, a national nonprofit that evaluates and certifies locally specialized training programs for beach and open-water lifeguards around the country.

USLA will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014, and one of its accomplishments is helping localities share best practices, boosting the skills and effectiveness of such lifeguards. Brewster also spreads that philosophy beyond the United States through his work at the International Life Saving Federation, which brings together national organizations to collaborate on drowning prevention and lifesaving.