NESPA Foundation - PoolProMag

NESPA Foundation Supports Expanded Access to Water Safety Education in New Jersey

Dominick Mondi, executive director of Northeast Spa and Pool Association and NESPA Foundation, Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines and Joe Oehme, founding board member of the New Jersey Swim Safety Alliance, joined assemblyman Sean Kean on the boardwalk in Spring Lake, New Jersey, to highlight the importance of water safety education on Memorial Day weekend.

As advocates for water safety initiatives, the group gathered to support Kean’s legislation, which proposes that K-12 school districts be required to provide instruction on water safety. The bill is currently awaiting consideration in the Assembly Education Committee.

“The ocean and pool provide amazing opportunities for exercise, relaxation, fun and cooling off,” Kean says. “However, we must always be careful around water — the ocean, lakes, rivers, as well as pools and hot tubs. I hope that this is just the beginning — that learning in the classroom leads to actual swim lessons in water.”

Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause for children ages 5-14, according to the CDC. In New Jersey, 78 people died from drowning in 2021, according to the New Jersey Department of Health.

“The NESPA Foundation is focused on creating more opportunities for children to learn lifesaving water skills and introducing kids to a lifelong love of aquatics,” Mondi says. “Drowning prevention starts with building respect for water and understanding water conditions. This bill helps us bring this critical information to more young people in New Jersey.”

- Sponsor -

Affirming the NESPA Foundation’s commitment to supporting swim education, the Foundation has committed $25,000 to Step into Swim. The Foundation will also match donations made at NESPAfoundation.org, and the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance will match this doubled donation, meaning each donation is quadrupled.

“The best thing we can do to keep our children safe in the water is to continue talking about the lifesaving skill of learning to swim and increase access to swim education to make water safety a reality for children in need,” Gaines says.

For those ages 1-4, learning to swim from a qualified instructor reduces the risk of drowning by 88% and is critical in keeping children safer in the water. The NESPA Foundation shares in Step Into Swim’s mission to combat drowning prevention with access to free swimming lessons and educational resources that empower our children to be confident in and around water.

“Providing this information through our school system will significantly increase the accessibility of this information to children throughout the state, who otherwise might never receive it,” Oehme says. “We support this legislation and similar efforts to create a broader range of delivering the message of water safety education and awareness to all.”

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