Make a Safe SPLASH This Summer with Navy MWR Aquatics
By Robin Hillyer Miles, special contributor to Navy Installations Command Public Affairs
Through this summer’s SPLASH campaign, the Navy Installations Command’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) Fitness program is educating parents and youth on swimming pool safety and the dangers associated with unsupervised swimming.
“The Navy MWR Fitness SPLASH campaign was developed in an effort to educate our patrons on pool safety and the importance of staying alert while swimming,” said Ira Seth, MWR Fitness Specialist at Navy Installations Command.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day. Of these, two are children ages 14 or younger. Drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury deaths in the United States.
“With structured swim lessons, professional swim skills assessment, safe play, and active parental supervision, the risk of accidental drownings can be significantly reduced,” said Seth.
The SPLASH campaign focuses on six key principles: stay within arm’s reach (adult supervision is the first line of defense); protect your non-swimmers (inflatable floats and devices are not designed to save your child); learn to swim (Navy MWR provides swim lessons for all ages); assess swim skills (proper skills assessment is vital); swim safely (youth non-swimmers and swimmers must remain in their designated areas); and hang it up (no tweet, text or phone call is worth risking a child’s life) to reduce the likelihood of drowning.
“The SPLASH initiative provides wonderful resources for parents at our facilities,” said Robyn Gross, Naval Base Kitsap, Bremerton, Wash., aquatics manager. “The staff hands out SPLASH brochures to parents during our swim lessons and at our large pool party events. It’s helped to improve the overall safety at our facilities by reminding parents to keep an eye on their children in the water.
As part of SPLASH, in order to attain full access to a Navy MWR aquatics facility, including slides, diving board, and other recreational activities, all youths 17 and under must successfully pass the Navy Youth Swim Test, which is valid for one year.
To receive a wristband, children must demonstrate specific swimming standards that are assessed by Navy MWR lifeguards.
“The implementation of wristbands in our facility for identifying swimmers and non-swimmers has made it very easy for the lifeguards to keep kids in the proper swim zones and to quickly identify children who have wandered into the wrong zone accidentally before an incident occurs,” said Gross.
For more information on SPLASH or to schedule a swim test for your children, contact your local Navy MWR aquatics facility.
Navy MWR aquatics programs and services include 56 year-round swimming pools, 37 seasonal pools and 32 waterfront operations (oceans, lakes, bays, coves, and marinas). In addition, Navy MWR aquatics facilities offer swim lessons, family fitness programming, aquatics fitness classes, and command training support.
Navy Installations Command is comprised of approximately 53,000 military and civilian personnel worldwide responsible for the operations, maintenance and quality of life programs to support the Navy’s fleet, Sailors and their families.