Tag Archive for: water safety legislation

Water safety is paramount whether running an aquatic facility, teaching swimming lessons, or competing in aquatic events. Access to the necessary resources is essential to ensure aquatic professionals have the tools to create safer environments.

Aquatic professionals should know the available resources to help them and learn about the latest industry standards.

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Grant Programs

One of the main tasks of an aquatic professional is to ensure that their facilities and communities are water safe. By utilizing grant programs, these professionals can obtain the necessary funds to provide essential resources to those in their community.

Budgets are constantly being reduced and cuts are continuously made in many public services and recreation areas nowadays. This is why grants are a reliable source of funding for many organizations. Securing grants helps fill the gap for aquatic professionals that strive to keep communities safer around all bodies of water.

You should know a few:

Step Into Swim

Step Into Swim is a Pool & Hot Tub Alliance initiative committed to creating more swimmers. Every child deserves access to safe swimming education and the ability to feel confident, inspired, and empowered in the water. Step Into Swim is making waves in the name of drowning prevention and is a go-to resource for water safety.

To date, the Step into Swim program has provided 273,000 swim lessons. Click here to apply.

USA Swimming Learn to Swim Grants

USA Swimming has awarded grants since 2007 to help fund youth learn-to-swim programs. It has done so nationwide via its network of more than 1,600 verified swim lesson providers. In 2022, the USA Swimming awarded $932,000 to youth ($802,000) and adult ($130,000) swim lesson providers. Grants for programs focusing on adult learn-to-swim efforts were awarded for the first time in 2022. This was thanks to a partnership with U.S. Masters Swimming.

Youth Learn To Swim Grants

USA Swimming Youth Learn to Swim Grants are intended to expand existing learn-to-swim programs. It also seeks to support opportunities for children who otherwise would not participate in swimming lessons. This program helps children to acquire the life-saving skill of swimming.  The swim lesson program can use the award to offer free or reduced-cost swimming lessons. It can also support transportation costs to/from the swim lesson location(s).

The application window for Youth Learn to Swim Grants runs from mid-October to mid-December. The selected awards are announced in the early spring of the subsequent year.  Interested applicants MUST be an approved provider within the Swim Lesson Provider Network prior to December 1. Find more details here.

Adult Learn To Swim Grants

The Adult Learn to Swim Grant Application is open to all swim instructors, facilities, and programs that want to help make more adults safer around water, with a goal to reduce adult drowning risk through education, financial support, and community outreach. The program hopes that once adults learn to swim or improve their swimming skills, they will have the confidence and desire to continue swimming in a Masters Swimming program and experience the lifelong benefits of swimming. Want to apply? Click here.

Pool Safely Grant Program

In accordance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, the CPSC accepts applications for the Pool Safely Grant Program (PSGP). This program provides state and local governments with assistance to help implement enforcement and education programs, with the goal of preventing drownings and drain entrapments in pools & spas.

CPSC awards up to a total of $2 million in two-year grants to assist jurisdictions in reducing deaths and injuries from drowning and drain entrapment incidents in pools and spas. Learn more about this program here.

AOAP Swim Lessons and Life Jacket Grant Program

The Association of Aquatic Professionals has a swim lesson and lifejacket grant program to help aid aquatic facilities in their drowning prevention efforts. The AOAP drowning prevention grant offers funding opportunities for organizations to provide education and awareness of life jacket safety.

The AOAP allocates a minimum of $5,000 for the life jacket and $5,000 for the swim lesson grant program. An annual goal is to provide 100 free lessons to underprivileged participants. It also aims to purchase 500 life jackets annually for organizations to use in their water safety efforts. AOAP members can apply for either the Swim Lesson Grant or the Life Jacket Grant, or both at the same time.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety Water Safety and Swim Lessons Grant

The Missouri Department of Public Safety announced last week the availability of a total of $300,000 in grant funding to provide water safety and swimming lessons to underserved populations.

Eligible grant expenses include personnel costs, including benefits and overtime; training- and travel-related expenses; equipment; and supplies. The projected period for the expenditure of grant funds is from Feb. 1 to May 30, 2023. Applications will be accepted only through the Missouri Department of Public Safety online WebGrants system.

Benjamin Hair Just Swim for Life Foundation

The Benjamin Hair Foundation solicits grants on a rolling basis from organizations that further the mission of the BH-JSL. These grants will primarily be given to groups that hold learn-to-swim programs for “at-risk” youth. School programs, after-school programs, church groups, and others are invited to apply. Other proposals may be considered if they further the mission of the foundation. Click for more information.

Live Like Jake Scholarship

The Live Like Jake Foundation’s main mission is to promote childhood drowning awareness and water safety. In order to accomplish this, they encourage Infant Swim Resource (ISR) Self-Rescue® technique swim lessons. They try to help minimize the costs of the lessons for those in financial need by granting scholarships nationwide. Please note that these scholarships are limited to families that truly can’t afford them. Click to apply.

The Judah Brown Project 

The Judah Brown Project was created to honor Judah Brown, who passed away as the result of a tragic drowning accident.  Their mission is to provide funding for infant survival swim instruction and other lifesaving education to families of children ages 6 months – 6 years to help prevent children from drowning. In order to accomplish this, they try to help minimize the costs of the lessons for those in financial need by granting scholarships. Click for more details.

Legislation, Standards, and Codes Resources

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For aquatic professionals, the safety of their patrons and staff is paramount. Knowing the legislation and codes pertaining to water safety is essential to ensure a safe environment for everyone. Aquatic professionals must stay up-to-date on changing rules, regulations, and standards to remain compliant with applicable laws. 

Resources such as government websites or professional organizations provide valuable information on laws related to water safety. For example, the American Red Cross offers multiple certifications for two years. This ensures that aquatics professionals know about water safety guidelines and practices. Additionally, online training opportunities provide an interactive way for aquatics professionals to stay informed about relevant topics in this field. 

Understanding the legal requirements associated with water safety can help aquatic professionals create a safe environment at their pool or facility. It also allows them to protect themselves from potential liabilities. Here are some to get you started:

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act

The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act is a federal law that establishes design requirements for public and semi-public pools. These are specific requirements for drain covers (grates), drain configurations and anti-entrapment systems in public and semi-public swimming pools and spas. The Act is intended to reduce injuries and deaths associated with suction entrapment hazards in pools and spas. 

The Act took effect December 19, 2008. This means that all public and semi-public pools and spas must now be in compliance with the law. The Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act can be found here.

Every Child A Swimmer Legislation

The Every Child a Swimmer legislation was introduced in March 2021. House Bill 1119 would require school districts to ask the parent of every kindergartner and any child newly entering a school whether or not that child has been taught to swim.

Now, the parents of every child enrolled in school in Florida will be given either electronic or paper access educating them on the importance of teaching their children how to swim and where to find local swimming lessons. Find more details here.

Pool Safety Act

California’s original 1996 Pool Safety Act required all new private swimming pools to be equipped with at least one approved safety measure; a permanent fence, compliant pool cover, door & window alarms, and self-closing door and window devices. 

This California pool law was amended in 2006 to include two more pool safety barriers – an ASTM F 2286-05 compliant removable mesh pool fence and an ASTM F 2208-08 pool alarm. The 2018 amendment now requires newly permitted private pools to double up security measures by requiring the pool to be equipped with 2 out of 7 choices of compliant separate safety features. On January 1, 2018 the Pool Safety Act became law. Find out more about it here.

Swimming Pool Safety Act

The Residential Swimming Pool Safety Act in Florida (Chapter 515, Florida Statutes) requires pool safety measures for pools built after October 1, 2000. The Legislature intends that all new residential swimming pools, spas, and hot tubs be equipped with at least one pool safety feature.

For more information, visit the Florida Residential Building Code Chapter 45 and Florida Building Code Chapter 4 Section 454 for updated standards.

Public swimming pools must comply with additional requirements that you can find here.

The International Swimming Pool & Spa Code® 

The International Swimming Pool & Spa Code® contains everything a pool contractor needs to make a pool safe so it can operate efficiently. It sets the minimum standard for pool and spa safety by substantially reducing the risk of child drowning through introducing or enhancing requirements for residential pools and spas. The adoption of the ISPSC can reduce drowning accidents by requiring barriers, compliant design, and slopes for entry and exit, working towards eliminating entrapment incidents once and for all, and ensuring that pools and spas are built using approved and safe materials.

State Requirements for Life Jackets

In states with no children’s life jacket law in place, a U.S. Coast Guard interim rule is applied. The rule requires children under 13 on moving boats to wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacket that fits.

Even though some laws provide boaters with the minimum age for a child to wear a life jacket, a parent must decide if a child should wear one, even when the law does not require one.

Learn the requirements for your state here.

Educational Resources

Aquatics professionals have a duty to protect the safety of those in their care. Knowing the available resources is essential for providing a safe environment for every aquatic activity. 

Water safety experts recommend utilizing various resources from multiple sources to ensure the best possible water safety measures are taken. Aquatic professionals should stay up-to-date on the latest research and regulations concerning water activities and take advantage of the information available online, in professional journals, and books about aquatics activities and water safety. 

Additionally, aquatic professionals should attend classes offered by certified instructors or organizations to stay abreast of current best practices and new techniques related to programming, education, and emergency preparedness.

NDPA Resource Center

The NDPA Resource Center strives to improve access to relevant information by collecting, categorizing and organizing materials that are useful to all members of the aquatics industry and drowning prevention advocates.

This tool contains the following features:

  • NDPA Partner Directory
  • Drowning Prevention & Water Safety Resource Directory
  • Sharable Drowning Prevention Social Media Content
  • Resources for Task Forces & Coalitions
  • An Index of Drowning Prevention & Water Safety Literature containing over 300 entries
  • An Index of over 60 Regional, State, and National Water Safety, Drowning, and Injury Databases
  • NDPA & National Water Safety Conference Media Library

Find out more.

AOAP Respect The Water

One of the main goals of the Association of Aquatic Professionals is to provide drowning prevention education to aquatic professionals, operators of swimming pools and facilities as well as the general public. To accomplish this goal, the association will offer opportunities for the general public to attend drowning prevention education sessions and attend a specified time period during our annual trade show at no cost to meet with both professionals and vendors in the field of aquatics.

Find more educational resources and materials here.

Pool Safely Educational Resources

Pool Safely’s educational materials make it simple to share information about water safety that could save a life. The variety of items and materials they offer can be distributed at public pools and spas so they can be shared with friends and neighbors. Have a look at their educational materials catalog here.

To order campaign materials, click here.

Pool & Hot Tub Alliance Education 

PHTA and GENESIS education programs are designed to provide you with timely, relevant, and engaging expert advice and information on the industry and management issues you encounter daily. They offer a variety of delivery methods, from physical schools to on-demand training. They also have an ongoing Webinar Series and an Education Partner Program. 

You can choose from 10 subject categories to find the courses most relevant to your needs here.

National Water Safety Conference, presented by the NDPA

The NDPA’s annual flagship event has a long and storied history. Starting out as a small symposium in 2001, the National Water Safety Conference boasts four days of education, training, and networking in addition to a robust lineup of speakers. 

This annual event is the gathering place of multiple different sectors, stakeholders, and advocates, all of who believe “Drowning IS Preventable”.

In 2023 and 2024, the National Water Safety Conference will be co-hosted with The Association of Aquatic Professionals (AOAP). The annual Association of Aquatic Professionals Conference & Expo and the National Water Safety Conference presented by the NDPA will operate side-by-side at the same location beginning in February of 2023. The first event will take place at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, February 13-16, 2023.

You are still in time to register for this year’s event: www.watersafetyconference.com

US National Water Safety Action Plan

The U.S. National Water Safety Action Plan is in the process of being developed by the water safety and drowning prevention community. The planning process pulls knowledge and experience from key stakeholders across the U.S. to create a comprehensive, evidence-based, realistic, and excitable plan.

The Steering Committee for the National Water Safety Action Plan comprises a passionate group of stakeholders and influencers from organizations with water safety and drowning prevention as part of their mission. The Steering Committee is charged with providing strategic oversight and guidance in developing the action plan, including supporting the activities of the working groups.

Learn more about it here.

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During the cold winter months, you may not think about going in the water much, but that doesn’t mean your water safety efforts and education should stop.

Drowning is a public health crisis and an economic problem that will not change unless more water safety policies and legislation are put into effect throughout our communities. Through the 2020 CDC WISWARS Cost of Injury Module, drownings (both fatal and nonfatal) cost the U.S. Economy $53.53 billion per year.

We are Not Powerless When Addressing the Tragedies of Drowning

Advocating for more water safety legislation and drowning prevention efforts in our local and state governments is essential to help change the number of drownings across the U.S.

Drowning has a startling ripple effect, which can have a lifetime effect on the victim’s family, friends, and community members. However, many people may not publicly advocate for water safety legislation because they might not know where to start.

To make things easier for those who want to advocate for water safety action and those interested in improving how their community prevents drowning incidents and other aquatic injuries, here are some tips that can be used as a guide.

1. Look at Your Local and State Level Water Safety Legislation Laws
Before approaching community members with water safety legislation, educating yourself is critical.  Become familiar with the water safety issues around you and learn more about water safety education by implementing the 5 Layers of Protection.

Educating yourself and those around you about water safety is a lifelong endeavor, so stay up to date with the latest research and evidence-based drowning prevention strategies through your state’s water safety legislation. 

All states have different laws, codes, and regulations around public health and information on pools, hot tubs, and splash pads, so use the following resources below to read about local and state-level water safety legislation initiatives that are currently in effect: 

2. How to Advocate for Water Safety Legislation to Policy Makers

By learning about the latest laws, codes, and regulations, you will be able to become more active in your community to make a difference. Working your way up is a great way to start advocating for water safety legislation efforts.

Attending local government meetings to discuss community issues like fencing ordinances to provide barriers for homes with pools and spas or recommending pool and spa covers to homeowners with water features can help reduce aquatic-related incidents. Always advocate for all five layers of protection, as one water safety strategy may not be enough to save a life.

When you create lasting relationships with your local officials by regularly participating in community meetings, you provide the necessary information to make positive changes for your community, city, and even state.

Without the support of engaged and dedicated water safety advocates, reducing the number of drownings wouldn’t be possible. Without those to share and advocate for water safety, U.S. Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) wouldn’t have been able to become a Water Safety Champion and rally to support the reauthorization of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act (VGB Act). 

Other ways you can help advocate for water safety include: 

U. S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-20) Receiving Lighthouse Award and Becoming a Water Safety Champion

3. Empower Your Community to Help Prevent Drowning with Water Safety Legislation

When it comes to the health and safety of children, empowering your community to rally against drowning and aquatic injuries is as simple as ‘gimmie 5’:

  1. Installing barriers & alarms to help prevent children and unauthorized adults from accessing water unsupervised.
  2. Close, constant, and capable supervision anytime children are in or around water.
  3. Learning water competency and basic swim skills.
  4. Wear life jackets appropriately, especially around open water.
  5. Learning emergency preparation skills like CPR and fast action to call 911.

Each of these 5 Layers must work together, so teaching members of your community significantly impacts those around you.
Make access to water safety education simple and easy to access. Follow the NDPA’s social feeds for social media posts to share or access your Resource Kit after becoming a Water Safety Champion. Always be open to sharing resources to spread drowning prevention awareness to your friends, family, and community.

It Takes a Village to Advocate for Water Safety Legislation

With water safety legislation, we can make a difference in drowning prevention, but it takes more than one person to create change for the greater good. Drowning prevention is more than educating parents about water safety.

By becoming more aware of the dangers water can present to our communities and utilizing the best water safety strategies, we can make a difference in preventing future drowning and aquatic injuries. 


To join the fight for more water safety legislation for drowning prevention in our communities, visit NDPA.org/support-ndpa/.