Make Water Safety Education an Essential Right for All in NY!

Goal: 2000

Make Water Safety Education an Essential Right for All!

The Rockaway Water Safety Coalition* asks you to petition your elected officials to support NY State Senate Bill 2545A and Assembly Bill 4846. These bills would make water safety education available and encouraged in New York State schools, require sending water safety materials home to parents, and include technical assistance to schools from the office of the New York State Commissioner of Education to develop water safety curricula. The Senate Bill is sponsored by Senators Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr., James Sanders, Jr., and Brad Hoylman-Sigal. The Assembly Bill is sponsored by Assembly Members Stacey Pheffer Amato, Juan Ardila, William Colton, Catalina Cruz, Edward Flood, Alicia Hyndman, Steven Otis, Steven Raga, Rebecca A. Seawright, and Jo Anne Simon. Additional sponsorships are pending, and elected official advocacy for bill sponsorship is ongoing. 

There are various water safety education and resources available in New York State, but many young people do not have access to them. This inequity of knowledge costs lives - according to the CDC, “one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and younger. For every child who dies from drowning another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries”. Water safety education can save lives and better connect young people to their local environment and community.

Young people who have access to water safety education learn how to act safely in and around water, giving them confidence and introducing them to a range of opportunities such as jobs, hobbies, social interactions and community connection. Providing water safety education in schools lowers socio-economic barriers to accessing these resources, helping to create a more inclusive recreational water community. 

As climate change drives increased extreme weather, making flooding a concern throughout the year, and staffing shortages and budget cuts limit access to pools and beaches that enable us to safely access the water, it is critical that young New Yorkers have access to the tools, resources, and skills they need to positively and safely benefit from their waterfronts.

Let’s save lives! Make water safety education an essential right for all in NY State. 

*The Rockaway Water Safety Coalition is organized by many concerned local groups, businesses and community members, including the Laru Beya Collective, Rising Tide Effect, Rockaway Beach Civic Association, Rockaway Women for Progress, Sea Change Strategy, Surfrider Foundation NYC, and Swim Strong Foundation.

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