Washington State Designated Swim Area Guidelines

Seattle Children’s and the Washington State Department of Health-Injury and Violence and Prevention Program partnered to develop swim area guidelines for WA State to:

  • Increase access to safer water recreation.
  • Decrease open water drowning fatalities and injuries.
  • Encourage standards for designated swim areas across the state, similar to public health-regulated pools.

Using the Guidelines: These voluntary guidelines can be used by beach managers and open water recreation administrators, local health jurisdictions, local parks and recreation departments, and others to:

  • Develop new and improve established designated swim areas.
  • Develop new and strengthen established designated swim area policies and regulations.
  • Advocate for funding and resources to develop or improve designated swim areas.
  • Advocate for designated swim area policies and procedures.

Drowning Prevention Policy Strategies

The Washington State Child and Youth Open Water Drowning Prevention Policy Task Force, Washington State Drowning Prevention Network and child injury and water safety experts identified short-term and long-term policy strategies to reduce open water drowning in Washington state.

Open Water Safety Checklists

These checklists are designed to help individuals, organizations and communities identify gaps in water safety and policy and program changes to fix the gaps.

Life Jacket Policies and Regulations

Life jackets protect boaters. Boaters sometimes find themselves in unexpected situations, such as being tossed into freezing water or thrown into the water after a collision. However, most boating-related drowning victims do not wear life jackets. In 2009, according to the United States Coast Guard, at least 90% of boating-relating drowning victims were not wearing a life jacket. Learn more about local, national and international life jacket policies and policy initiatives:

Pool Policies and Regulations

Most drownings among children ages 1 to 4 in the United States occur in residential swimming pools. According to the Centers for Disease Control, most children were last seen at home, had been out of sight for less than five minutes and were in the care of one or more caregivers at the time.

Additional Policy Resources