NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A6141
TITLE OF BILL:
An act to create a temporary "commission to prevent childhood drowning"
to improve water safety in New York state; and providing for the repeal
of such provisions upon expiration thereof
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS:
Section 1. A temporary commission to be known as the "commission to
prevent childhood drowning", hereafter referred to as the "commission",
is hereby created to evaluate and develop programs to properly educate
and instruct children on water safety and how to swim.
§ 2. (a) The commission shall consist of eleven members to be appointed
as follows: three members appointed by the governor; two members
appointed by the temporary president of the senate; two members
appointed by the speaker of the assembly; one member appointed by the
minority leader of the senate, one member appointed by the minority
leader of the assembly; the chancellor of the board of regents of the
University of the State of New York or his or her designee; and the
commissioner of the department of parks, recreation and historic preser-
vation or his or her designee; and five ad hoc members, with one member
each of the statewide chapter of the following organizations: the Ameri-
can Red Cross, the YMCA, the YWCA, the Boys and Girls Club, the Jewish
Community Center and the New York State Swim Commission. Vacancies in
the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner
provided for, original appointments and designations.
(b) The members of the commission shall receive no compensation for
their services, but shall be allowed their actual and necessary expenses
incurred in the performance of their duties pursuant to this act. The
commission may employ and at pleasure remove such personnel as it deems
necessary for the performance of its functions and fix their compen-
sation within the amounts made available by appropriation therefor.
(c) The commission may hold public hearings and shall have all the
powers of a legislative committee pursuant to the legislative law and is
hereby authorized and empowered to undertake any studies, inquiries,
surveys or analyses it may deem relevant through its own personnel or in
cooperation with or by agreement with any other public or private agen-
(d) To the maximum extent feasible, the commission shall be entitled to
request and be provided with such resources and data of any department,
division, board, bureau, commission or agency of the state or any poli-
tical subdivision thereof as it may reasonably request to carry out
properly its powers and duties pursuant to this act.
(e) The members of the commission or any committee thereof may partic-
ipate in a meeting of such commission or committee by means of a tele-
phone conference or any similar communications equipment allowing all
persons participating to hear each other at the same time; participation
by such means shall constitute presence in person at such meeting.
§ 3. The commission shall:(a) Determine an appropriate age and/or stage
of childhood development when children can properly begin water safety
and swimming instructions and develop statewide standards for such
(b) Investigate and evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of
programs which incentivize parents and guardians to enroll children in
water safety and swimming instruction;
(c) Develop a comprehensive plan and provide the estimated state cost
for public-private partnerships between the state and community centers,
nonprofit organizations, recreational facilities, swimming instructors,
and other relevant stakeholders and expanding existing state resources
such as parks and pools to provide access to free swimming instruction,
and determine the feasibility of such programs;
(d) Develop an implementation plan to ensure its swimming safety
programs are available in underserved communities; and
(e) Develop a comprehensive plan and provide the annual estimated state
cost for a public awareness campaign to ensure parents and guardians
receive information on the importance of children receiving basic water
safety and swimming instruction.
§ 4. The commission shall make recommendations and a report of its find-
ings no later than one year after the effective date of this act. The
commission shall submit such recommendations and report, including any
recommendations for legislative action as it may deem necessary and
appropriate, to the governor, the temporary president of the senate, the
speaker of the assembly, and shall publish its report online.
§ 5. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire and be
deemed repealed eighteen months after it shall have become a law.
According to the United States Center of Disease Control From 2005-2014,
there were an average of 3,536 fatal unintentional drownings (non-boat-
ing related) annually in the United States - about ten deaths per day.l
An additional 332 people died each year from drowning in boating-related
About one in five people who die from drowning are children 14 and youn-
ger. For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emer-
gency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.
More than 50% of drowning victims treated in emergency departments (EDs)
require hospitalization or transfer for further care (compared with a
hospitalization rate of about 6% for all unintentional injuries). These
nonfatal drowning injuries can cause severe brain damage that may result
in long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabili-
ties, and permanent loss of basic functioning (e.g., permanent vegeta-
Research has also found that early swimming skills help. Taking part in
formal swimming lessons reduces the risk of drowning among children aged
1 to 4 years.9,10 However, many people don't have basic swimming skills.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends swim lessons for many
children starting at age 1. The decision to start water-survival skills
training or swim lessons at an early age must be individualized on the
basis of the child's frequency of exposure to water, emotional maturity,
physical and cognitive limitations and health concerns related to swim-
A study in the journal JAMA Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found
formal swimming lessons reduced the likelihood of childhood drowning by
This legislation would increase access to swim training programs and
hopefully prevent countless unnecessary tragedy.
PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY:
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS FOR STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS:
To be determined.