New Jersey Swim Safety Alliance June 2023 Newsletter

May was an exciting month for New Jersey Swim Safety Alliance (NJSSA) in our effort to promote water safety to save lives.

Here in our New Jersey Swim Safety Alliance June 2023 Newsletter, we have some important news about:

  • New Jersey Water Safety Month
  • The progress of NJ water safety education Bill A-618
  • NJSSA’s involvement in a charitable swimsuit drive

May Proclaimed as Water Safety Month in New Jersey

On April 21, 2023, Governor Murphy supported the National Water Safety Month campaign by proclaiming May as Water Safety Month in New Jersey.

NJ Water Safety Month Proclamation

The proclamation drew attention to the fact that swimming and aquatic activities are important for both physical and mental health, and that water activities improve the quality of life.

The proclamation also:

  • Addressed the importance of water safety education for the prevention of drownings and recreational water-related injuries
  • Recognized the crucial efforts in water safety education that are provided by pools, water parks and other groups and industries
  • Underscored the importance of teaching all individuals about water safety

Water Safety Month is supported by many groups who promote water safety to reduce the number of water-related injuries and fatalities. Some of these groups are:

  • American Red Cross
  • National Recreation and Park Association
  • Pool & Hot Tub Alliance
  • World Waterpark Association

Traditionally, water safety month promotes water safety awareness through proclamations, public service announcements, business promotions, and special programs.

NJSSA and Water Safety

NJSSA members work tirelessly year-round to promote and advocate for safety in and around water and to promote the importance of learning how to swim.

We want everyone to know that swimming isn’t only a fun pastime, but an important life skill that everyone should learn.

Learn more about our mission here.

a young child in a life jacket is learning water safety and gives two thumbs up.

The Importance of Water Safety Education

NJSSA strives to make sure all NJ residents have the information to stay safe, and keep loved ones safe, in and around the water.

Sadly, the CDC reports drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death for children 1-14.

Water safety education is critical for everyone in all New Jersey towns. If you think water safety education isn’t necessary in your community, take a minute to check out a map showing drowning locations in New Jersey.

This map shows all the towns where drownings occurred from August ‘21 to August ’22 and gives the age and gender of each precious life lost.

A family in a canoe with each person wearing a life jacket.

Drownings occur not only in the ocean, but in lakes, rivers, streams, and pools as well. Unfortunately, no community is immune to this tragedy.

On NJSSA’s homepage there’s also an important video with additional drowning statistics, tips for safety in and around water, and two brave families’ stories told in the hope that losing their child to drowning won’t become your family’s story as well.

Bill A-618 Is in the Spotlight

On Friday, May 26, 2023, NJ Assemblyman Sean Kean held a press conference to urge state legislators to support Bill A-618—a potentially life-saving bill that would mandate that schools provide water safety education for all students in grades K-12.

Our Founding Board Member, Joe Oehme, joined Assemblyman Kean at the conference along with other notable water safety advocates.

While drownings are not always preventable, NJSSA stresses that education can be highly effective in preventing many drownings. Passage of this bill would save lives.

The New Jersey State Capitol building in Trenton on the Delaware River

Bill A-618 was originally proposed in response to several NJ drownings. Currently, it has additional bipartisan support of 18 other legislators, but needs to be brought up in the Assembly Education Committee.

Assemblyman Kean has created a petition to State Representative Pamela Lampitt, Chair of the Assembly Education Committee, to act on this water safety education bill.

At the conference, Kean mentioned September is often the most dangerous month for shore drownings due to a shortage of lifeguards and the impact late-summer storms have on the ocean.

You can see Assemblyman Kean and Joe Oehme of NJSSA talk about the origin of and need for this critical bill in this informative short video.

You can help us move this bill along and bring water education to our schools.

Simply take a minute and link here. Once linked, it’s simple. All you need to do is:

  • Select your town
  • Fill out a short form
  • Review and submit your letter of support to your own NJ state legislator

NJSSA Joins Dolfin Swimwear in NJRPA Swimsuit & Goggle Drive

Boys and girls swimsuits

Not everyone has access to a bathing suit and swim goggles. And this alone prevents some children and adults from being able to swim.

NJSSA is proud to have teamed up with Dolfin Swimwear to join the NJRPA Aquatic Section for their 2023 Bathing Suit and Goggle Drive.

New Jersey Recreation and Parks Association, Dolfin Swimwear, and New Jersey Swim Safety Alliance logos

Since 2019, this event has collected and provided over 600 new bathing suits for children and adults in need. And this year we’re planning for our biggest year ever!

The swimsuit drive is being held from Memorial Day through July 15. New Jersey-based swim schools, swim venues, water parks and aquatic facilities are all joining in to help with this year’s swimsuit collection effort.

You Can Support NJSSA’s Mission

Our mission is all about improving the grim statistics on accidental drowning for both children and adults and promoting swimming as an important life skill.

The New Jersey Swim Safety Alliance is a group of swim professionals united to promote water safety in New Jersey.

You can help by becoming a becoming a member, or a sponsor. Non-member sponsorship is also available for individuals or businesses to support us through donations. We are a 501(c)(3) organization.

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David is the Founder and President of National Safety Training Center and its predecessor companies – Elite Tactical Academy and Mine Brook Search & Rescue, Inc.  He is  a seasoned business leader and public safety education expert. He currently focuses on running this large training center and keeps active teaching both provider level classes and many instructor level classes.

He holds numerous certifications including:

  • American Red Cross Instructor / Trainer
    • BLS / ALS / PALS
    • Lay Rescuer
    • Lifeguarding
    • Babysitting
  • American Heart Association Training Center Faculty
    • BLS
    • HeartSaver
  • National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians Instructor
    • Tactical Emergency Casualty Care
    • Pre Hospital Trauma Life Support
    • Mental Health Resilience Officer
    • Psychological Trauma in EMS Patients


David has previously worked as a Red Cross employee in 2 roles:

  • Public Safety Instructor for the Northern VT Chapter – teaching corporate classes for the Red Cross
  • Lifeguard Instructor / Trainer / Educator for the National Association – Teaching the Instructor / Trainer Academies to create new Lifeguard Instructor / Trainers.


David lives in the Martinsville section of Bridgewater NJ with his family who are also active in the Public Safety Training / Medical training business. He is a local volunteer Firefighter / EMT, something he has been doing since 1984! David also serves as a volunteer in the US Coast Guard on a specialized deployable communications team.

Jon Siegel is the Head Age Group Coach at Cougar Aquatic Team in Montclair NJ and currently the Senior Coaches Rep for NJ Swimming LSC. Prior to that Jon  served as Senior Director of Competitive Aquatics at the Madison Area YMCA (MAY). During his tenureat MAY he helped design and oversee the construction of their new FM Kirby Aquatic Center, directed outdoor programming during the pandemic and acted as Senior Aquatic Director to bring the aquatic department back online. Over his coaching career, which has spanned 30+ years, Jon spent nine-and-a-half-years with the Montclair YMCA Dolphins as their Director of Competitive Aquatics, eight years as Head Coach at the Madison Area YMCA, three years at the West Essex YMCA, and a year as an Assistant Coach at the Summit Y. In addition, he has coached the Livingston Aquajets, Berkeley Heights Streamliners, Minisink Manta Rays and Morristown Beard High School. Jon is an ASCA Level 5 Swim Coach and was selected as the Head Coach of the NJ Swimming All Star Zone Team in 1999, 2002, 2005 and 2008, and as an assistant coach at Zones in 2000, 2003 and 2023. Jon also coached USA Swimming’s Eastern Zone Select Camp in 2006. Jon’s swimmers have competed in all levels of swim competition including Olympic Trials and an alumni to the Olympics. In addition to coaching, Jon has years of service to various swim boards and committees which include working on the New Jersey YMCA Swim League Executive Committee, New Jersey Swimming Board of Directors, and on the USA Swimming National Communications Committee and the National Camps Committee. John looks forward to bringing his extensive swim knowledge and experience to the Nj Swim Safety Alliance.