A consortium of governmental and nongovernmental organizations have come together to form a group meant to provide a single voice regarding drowning prevention.
Water Safety USA aims to produce a consistent message about improving water safety and reducing the rate of drownings in the United States.
The idea of a water safety organization with a unified message began to take root in 2014. Three organizations with a history of working together -- the American Red Cross, the United States Lifesaving Association and the YMCA of the USA -- got the idea when they agreed that water-safety information was plentiful but the messages were oftentimes conflicting and uncoordinated.
“Our group came to the conclusion that really we could do a better job,” said B. Chris Brewster, Water Safety USA moderator.
They invited representatives from several organizations to a summit meeting in Washington D.C. to propose the general concept—a roundtable of organizations with a consistent water safety message. The idea resonated with many concerned parties, including the National Swimming Pool Foundation.
“We live in a very noisy world, said Tom Lachocki, Ph.D, CEO of the Colorado Springs, Colo., organization. “Inconsistent messaging is almost like no messaging because it just gets lost in the noise.” The goal is to create a consistent message that cuts through all of that noise and gets through to consumers plainly and clearly, he said.
Every year the groups composing Water Safety USA will focus their efforts on a single water safety and drowning prevention message. This year’s message is scheduled to be announced May 3.
Other participating groups include the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Boy Scouts of America, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Park Service, the National Safe Boating Council, Safe Kids Worldwide, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the USA Swimming Foundation. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, which leads the Federal government’s largest public education campaign on drowning prevention -- Pool Safely -- is also part of the alliance.
While not all these organizations are exclusively devoted to a water safety agenda, they share a commitment to the health, safety and well-being of humanity.
“We’re a round table of equals who meet and discuss and contribute…to try to accomplish things,” Brewster said.
Leaders of the consortium are pleased with the timing. “It’s really a terrific time…for these groups to be coming together with common messaging, because this is an Olympic year,” Lachocki said. “This summer there’s going to be a lot of attention and focus on swimming because [some aquatic events are] going to be covered in prime time."
For more information and the latest updates on Water Safety USA, check out WaterSafetyUSA.org or follow them on Twitter @WaterSafetyUSA.