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

Feature Story

May 2021


Leading Aquatic Organizations Champion Water Safety

A coalition of water safety partners, including the American Red Cross, the National Recreation and Park Association, the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance and the World Waterpark Association, along with dozens of other water safety groups, are working together to promote the month of May as National Water Safety Month. National Water Safety Month engages the public to raise awareness about water safety and highlights the importance of public education regarding safer practices for kids and adults when they're in and around water.

National Water Safety Month began as a weeklong event in 2003 and has grown into an annual month-long event supported by thousands of aquatics facilities and professionals through educational programs, public service announcements, governmental proclamations, dealer and aquatics business promotions, and the distribution of water-safety-themed materials designed to help prevent water-related fatalities, illnesses and injuries.

"National Water Safety Month is a powerful way to send a crucial message at the start of the busy summer swim season," said Connie Harvey, director of the Aquatics Centennial Initiative for the American Red Cross. "There are layers of protection involved in water safety. Ensuring everyone in the family learns how to swim and that parents and caregivers have the knowledge and skills to handle emergencies around the water, including how to perform CPR, is a good place to start. National Water Safety Month helps us communicate these messages."

Hundreds of water safety awareness and educational events take place during the month, including International Water Safety Day on May 15, and registration for the World's Largest Swimming Lesson. Celebrating its 12th year, the World's Largest Swimming Lesson holds open registration for aquatic facilities interested in being an official Host Location for the global event, which will take place on June 17, 2021.

"Park and recreation professionals throughout the nation provide aquatics programming at more than 70% of agencies," said Julie Boland, NRPA vice president of credentialing and member operations. "At NRPA, we are proud to support National Water Safety Month and recognize the importance of providing access to opportunities for all people to learn to swim, especially children."

"The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance, in partnership with members and stakeholders, works year-round to promote the safe enjoyment of water," said PHTA President & CEO, Sabeena Hickman. "We are proud to celebrate May as National Water Safety Month. Participation in National Water Safety month not only saves lives, but it helps promote the safe enjoyment of swimming to future generations."

"With aquatic centers of all kinds closed last summer by the pandemic, millions of children did not have the chance to take swimming lessons and learn crucial swimming and water safety skills as they normally would," said Rick Root, president of the World Waterpark Association, founding organization of the World's Largest Swimming Lesson. "National Water Safety Month is a great way to get communities focused on sharing vital water safety messages to help families understand the importance of learning to swim as well as layers of protection to help prevent drowning."

Detailed information and free resources in support of National Water Safety Month, for both consumers and businesses, can be found at www.nationalwatersafetymonth.org.


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