Washington State Designated Swim Area Guidelines

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. Read the following files to learn more about Washington state's drowning prevention policy strategies and to find out how you can be involved.

Open Water Safety Checklists

To prevent open water drowning, the Washington State Department of Health, Seattle Children's Hospital and Safe Kids Washington developed and piloted an open water swim area safety checklist and community water recreation safety checklist. The checklists are designed to help individuals, organizations and communities identify gaps in water safety and policy and program changes to fix the gaps.

Boating Under the Influence (BUI) Policies and Regulations

Alcohol use is the leading factor in boating fatalities. In 2010, alcohol was a contributing factor in almost 45% of all U.S. boating operation-related fatalities, according to the United States Coast Guard. Learn more about local and national BUI policies and policy initiatives:

Personal Flotation Device (PFD) Policies and Regulations

PFDs, or 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. Currently, Washington state requires children up to age 12 to wear life jackets on boats longer than 19 feet while the boat is underway. 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 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. Learn more about pool policies to prevent drownings:

Additional Policy Resources