Recreation Management Rec Report - The Newsletter for Recreation, Sports & Fitness Facility Managers

Feature Story

April 2019

Note & Float Program Reaches Lifesaving Milestone

By Dave Ramont

The Note and Float Life Jacket Fund Inc. is a nonprofit organization that donates life jackets to swimming pools wishing to participate in the Note & Float drowning prevention program. Created by Rachel and Tom Griffiths, the program is designed to save lives by identifying non-swimmers and floating them in properly fitting U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets.

And, with the help of donations from individuals and businesses, the Note & Float program is happy to report that it has now donated more than 1,000 life jackets. In addition to saving lives, these life jackets also create swimmers. Pools that receive life jackets from the program have not only discovered that their rescues declined by more than 50 percent, but swim lesson enrollments have consistently doubled.

Children are especially at risk for drowning. In the United States, drowning is still the leading cause of accidental death among children under 5 years old, the second leading cause for children 14 and under and the fifth leading cause for all ages. About 10 people drown each day in non-boating-related accidents across the country.

While many of us think of life jacket use mainly in open water, the fact is that life jackets can save lives in pools, too. More pools are allowing them and even encouraging their use, maintaining their own supply of U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets and requiring non-swimmers to wear them. This helps kids feel more confident in the water, and can often lead to them taking swim lessons.

For pools that wish to implement the Note & Float program, but do not have the funds to obtain life jackets, the Note and Float Life Jacket Fund can provide the life jackets for those facilities. To receive a life jacket donation, the facility must implement and uphold the Note & Float program. Facilities can fill out an application online, which includes questions about attendance, timeline, demographics and how the facility will implement the program and ensure it is properly enforced.

One facility that received life jackets from the program in 2018 was The Shack Neighborhood House in Pursglove, W.Va. They had a high number of adult non-swimmers as well as children, and by offering life jackets to both parents and children who were inexperienced swimmers, they found that it really helped families to swim safely and enjoyably together. The life jackets were also used as a key component in their learn-to-swim instruction.

To donate to the program, to apply for life jackets or just to learn more, visit

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