To bring the United States in line with a recommendation from the World Health Organization, Water Safety USA has embarked on the development of a national water safety plan.

In 2014, the WHO released a report about the prevalence and preventability of drowning worldwide. The organization sought to illustrate that these incidents could be significantly curbed in the hopes of motivating countries to tackle the issue. Nations such as Australia and Canada have developed such plans.

Water Safety USA is a roundtable of various organizations around the country that address drowning prevention in various settings.

“The idea [for the national plan] is fairly similar to the main concept behind Water Safety USA, which is to get everybody on the same page working collaboratively on the issue of water safety and drowning prevention,” said N. Chris Brewster, moderator for Water Safety USA.

As in other countries, Water Safety USA will assemble representatives and experts from governmental and nongovernmental organizations to identify the key targets on which the nation should focus its drowning-prevention efforts. These priorities could include certain populations or demographic groups, or different settings and circumstances under which drowning occurs, such as certain water sports or destinations.

For instance, the Canadian plan lists targets such as children aged 1 to 4, indigenous peoples, water transport-related drowning, rural areas and cold-water immersion, among others. In Australia, rock fishing is named among the settings where drowning is more prevalent.

“I think historically, in various countries, drowning prevention organizations and water-safety organizations worked in silos, focusing on their areas of interest and expertise,” Brewster said. “This approach doesn’t take away from the specific expertise of various organizations that may have particular foci, but rather harnesses the groups to address the key issues.”

These plans also include information and statistics on drowning in the countries.

In the U.S., the process has just begun, with Water Safety USA establishing a committee to write up the national plan.

“The concept here is to view drowning prevention and water safety holistically in all environments and all circumstances where it may happen,” Brewster said.