National Water Safety Month Coalition Celebrates 20th Anniversary
A National Coalition of water safety partners, including the American Red Cross, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance (NDPA), the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), and the World Waterpark Association (WWA), along with Governors in 45+ states, are working together to promote May as the 20th annual National Water Safety Month.
Since 2003, members of the Coalition have worked to raise awareness and highlight the importance of public education regarding safer practices for kids and adults when they are in and around water of all kinds. The event, celebrated every May by thousands of aquatics facilities, businesses, and professionals, provides educational programming, public service announcements, government proclamations, business promotions, and water safety-themed materials designed to help prevent water-related illnesses, injuries, and fatalities.
"The American Red Cross encourages families to make water safety a priority to build confidence in water, for life," said William D. Ramos, PhD, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council. "Preventing unsupervised access to water, providing constant, active adult supervision in and around the water, and knowing how to swim are critical layers of protection to help prevent drowning."
The National Water Safety Month campaign plays a foundational role in leading the conversation about how to keep families safer in the water. The initiative to strengthen water safety education has led to national media coverage, improved legislation, and critical advocacy efforts throughout the U.S.
"At NRPA, we are proud to support National Water Safety Month and recognize the importance of providing equitable opportunities for all people to learn to swim,” said Julie Boland, NRPA Vice President of Credentialing and Member Operations. “NRPA park and recreation professionals throughout the country provide aquatics at more than 70 percent of agencies in support of this goal.”
The Coalition supports water safety activities throughout the month and during swim season, including:
- International Water Safety Day
International Water Safety Day (May 15, 2023) is designed to help spread global awareness about drowning prevention and educate youth about becoming safer in and around water. May 15th is a day to share drowning awareness and water safety education by any means possible.
- World’s Largest Swimming Lesson
Celebrating its 14th year of saving lives, the World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (WLSL) (June 22, 2023) is a global event that includes tens of thousands of participants on six continents working to raise awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim. Aquatic facilities are encouraged to register as Host Locations during the month of May.
- State Proclamations
In preparation for National Water Safety Month, the Coalition works to secure gubernatorial proclamations to draw attention to this issue at the state level. Annually, 45-50 state Governors proclaim May as National Water Safety Month to support this important work. Proclamations are added throughout the month. Look for your state’s proclamation here.
- Safe Swimmer Pledge
Anyone can join the movement to reinforce the importance of water safety and become an advocate in the community. For example, the Safe Swimmer Pledge encourages children to practice safe swimming behaviors.
- Social Media Conversations
The Coalition will share safety tips and resources across its social media channels throughout the month. Follow along on Twitter and Facebook, and join the #watersafetymonth #NWSM2023 conversations. Shareable content is also available through the National Drowning Prevention Alliance website’s Water Safety Season Tool Kit.
"The NDPA is thrilled to join the National Water Safety Month Coalition and support this crucial, life-saving work," said Adam Katchmarchi, Ph.D., Executive Director, NDPA. "Our mission has always been to unite all stakeholders to collaborate behind a unified agenda focused on building awareness, advocacy, and education about water safety practices that reduce drowning. National Water Safety Month is a terrific platform to support those goals."
"National Water Safety Month is a great tool for the pool, spa, and hot tub industry to continue the important conversation about best practices for water safety in every environment," said Sabeena Hickman, CAE, President and CEO, PHTA. "PHTA is proud of the work the National Water Safety Coalition has accomplished and is committed to sharing these important messages to keep our children safe through swimming education."
May marks the beginning of swim season as beaches, pools, waterparks, and community center pools begin to open and people begin to spend more time outdoors. The Coalition is determined to increase awareness about vital water safety practices to help keep children and their families safer around all kinds of water. Learning to swim and practicing safe behaviors are critical first steps.
"We've accomplished a great deal since we launched this initiative in 2003. National Water Safety Month is now a major platform that's helped reach millions with important messaging about how to be water aware and the necessary layers of protection involved in keeping families safer around the water," said Rick Root, President of the World Waterpark Association. “But we still have a long way to go because far too many parents and caregivers still don’t understand the risks. We’re grateful for the thousands of members of the aquatics industry that support NWSM by reaching out to their communities to help save lives by sharing these vital water safety messages.”
Parents, educators, and caregivers can find detailed information and free resources in support of National Water Safety Month at www.NationalWaterSafetyMonth.org.