Tell readers a bit about yourself and how you became involved with water safety. 

The importance of water safety and survival swim lessons was instilled in me at a very young age. I watched my mom teach babies 6 months and up aquatic survival skills throughout my entire childhood. In high school, I was part of one of the most impactful programs I believe our schools offer to students, Community Problem Solving. This program gave me the opportunity to explore a problem within our community and create a plan to implement the best solution. I, along with several friends began a water safety project, Let’s Get Drown to Business. Over the course of my sophomore year, my passion for water safety continued to grow and I continued to advocate for water safety through different platforms for the rest of my high school journey. I graduated in 2017, and later the following year I began my training to become a survival skills instructor with Swim Life. In 2018, I was introduced to Jim Caggiano, one of the founders of WaterSafe. He invited me to join the committee, and then in 2019, WaterSafe became a 501©3 non-profit organization.

You recently hosted the successful Water Safe Day in Palm Coast. Share who some of your partners are and what they bring to the table. 

This year’s 6th annual WaterSafe event was a great day thanks to our partners, the community, volunteers, and the weather! The purpose of the annual WaterSafe event is to bring together various community organizations and businesses to provide the community with water and sun safety educational resources while enjoying one of our town’s local pools, the Belle Terre Swim & Racquet Club. Flagler County Fire Rescue is a continuous partner of WaterSafe. At the event, their team demonstrates the “Reach, Throw, Don’t Go” safety method. This consists of either reaching out or throwing to someone, but not going in the water. We also have the C.O.P.S. and Advent Health at the event to assist with Child ID cards and Fingerprinting. The Volusia County and Flagler Beach Ocean Rescues provided extra lifeguard supervision and distributed beach safety information at the event. Some of our other partners for the annual WaterSafe event include EMPros, The Health Department, and Marineland.

Water Safe, Inc. offers scholarships for swim lessons. Why is it so critical for even the youngest in our community to know how to swim? 

Living in Florida, water is constantly surrounding us. Even if you don’t own a pool, everyone has a neighbor, relative, friend, etc. that does. Many drownings that occur happen when a child gains unsupervised access to water. A child can drown in 20 seconds, and it happens silently. A child that has learned aquatic survival skills like rolling to float and swimming to safety will have a greatly reduced risk of drowning. Swim lessons can begin at 6 months old if a baby is sitting up independently. Drownings can occur in just a couple of inches of water like a beach bucket or toilet. Constant supervision is critical to prevent drownings as well.

If a family missed the Water Safe event, can they still get help with swimming lessons? 

If you missed the WaterSafe event, you can still apply for a swim lesson scholarship for your child(ren)! Visit our website www.watersafefl.org to download the application, then email it to Watersafefl@gmail.com. The group lessons will be conducted on the weekends after Memorial Day weekend.

What is your favorite part of being involved with water safety?

My favorite part of being involved with water safety is watching children develop a love for the water and swimming. As an instructor, there’s no better feeling than seeing the transformation of a child who may be afraid or unfamiliar with the water become skilled and enjoy the pool.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here