Water Safety Advancement Through the California Water Safety Strategy

The California Water Safety Strategy (CA-WSS) is the state of California’s first comprehensive plan to prevent drowning, developed through nearly two years of stakeholder consultation and research. 

The ZAC Foundation is proud to be a partner in the creation of the CA-WSS and is honored to have worked alongside countless stakeholders to advance life-saving drowning prevention efforts in California and hopefully serve as a model for other states. 

The CA-WSS aims to reduce drowning and aquatic injuries by fostering collaboration among local communities, government agencies, and organizations. The CA-WSS provides a robust framework that identifies eight water safety priorities:

  1. Public Significance: Elevate drowning prevention and water safety as an issue of public importance
  2. Data: Establish and communicate valid, timely, and accessible information on the burden of drowning 
  3. Everyone a Swimmer: Ensure that everyone has the opportunity to learn skills to be safer in and around the water 
  4. Safety at All Ages: Ensure resources, programs, and competencies exist for all life stages across the age and developmental spectrum
  5. Pools: Improve safety at all pools in California 
  6. Open Water: Improve safety at the coast, lakes, rivers, canals, and other open bodies of water in California 
  7. Lifeguards: Create sustainable and adaptable systems for lifeguards in California 
  8. Water Emergency Preparedness: Ensure individuals and systems are prepared to prevent and respond to drowning incidents and community-level water-related disasters 

The strategy is guided by the four core values of equity, collaboration, evidence and evaluation, and local context. These values are driving principles that need to be considered within each priority area and at every action level. 

Designed to be a living document that will grow and expand as collective work progresses, the CA-WSS flags areas that are important for decreasing drowning, need focused attention, and responsive to cross-sector alignment. 

Reflecting decades of expertise and collaboration, the CA-WSS aims to inspire and motivate individuals, communities, organizations, and governments to act. 

Learn more about about The ZAC Foundation’s drowning prevention efforts, including our involvement in the strategy. 

June 30, 2023