H.C.R. NO.














requesting the department of education to contract with a qualified nonprofit organization to establish an aquatic safety education program for elementary school students.




     WHEREAS, drowning is a tragic but preventable cause of injury and death in the State, especially among children; and


     WHEREAS, according to the Department of Health, drowning was the leading cause of injury-related mortality for Hawaii's children between 2014 and 2018; and


     WHEREAS, more children died by drowning than in motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents combined, and an alarmingly large proportion of those child drownings were among resident children; and


     WHEREAS, during the same period, there were an annual average of seventy non-fatal child drowning incidents attended by emergency medical services; and


     WHEREAS, although individuals who experience non-fatal drowning incidents escape with their lives, some are left with severe brain damage and may face long-term disabilities such as memory problems, learning disabilities, or permanent losses of basic functions, a disorder often referred to as a persistent vegetative state; and


     WHEREAS, many drowning deaths could be prevented through aquatic safety education programs; and


     WHEREAS, the International Life Saving Federation's Position Statement for Swimming and Safety Education recommends that everyone have access to training in water safety, personal survival, and water rescue; and

     WHEREAS, the International Life Saving Federation recommends that this training be available to everyone regardless of ability and background and should commence at the earliest possible age; and


     WHEREAS, despite these recommendations, many of Hawaii's youth do not have the opportunity to receive aquatic safety instruction; and


     WHEREAS, less than ten percent of public and public charter elementary schools integrate aquatic safety education into their physical education curricula; and


     WHEREAS, outside of schools, municipal aquatic safety programs lack the resources to meet public demand, and the cost of obtaining private lessons is often cost-prohibitive for many local families; and


     WHEREAS, as a result, many children are inadequately prepared for water-related emergencies; and


     WHEREAS, an assessment of Hawaii students conducted by the Hawaii Aquatics Academy during the 2018-2019 school year found that only thirty-one percent of participating students could swim for twenty-five yards, only twelve percent could float for thirty seconds, and only thirteen percent could tread water for sixty seconds; and


     WHEREAS, all children should be provided equal access to standards-based aquatic safety education programs; and


     WHEREAS, to achieve this, aquatic safety education should be integrated into the health and physical education curricula of public schools; and


     WHEREAS, providing proper training in water safety, personal survival, and water rescue will help to ensure that the State's youth, especially those from low- and moderate-income communities, know how to avoid and recover from hazardous aquatic situations; now, therefore,


     BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-second Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2023, the Senate concurring, that the Department of Education is requested to contract with a qualified nonprofit organization to establish an aquatic safety education program; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this aquatic safety education program be offered to elementary school students during regular school hours; and


     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Governor, Chairperson of the Board of Education, and Superintendent of Education.









Report Title: 

Children; DOE; Aquatic Safety Education; Elementary Schools