About  #

The Hawaii Aquatics Foundation (HAF) is dedicated to improving the healthy development of Hawaii’s children and families by providing, promoting, and supporting aquatic injury prevention education and research. HAF is an IRS 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that was established in 2017. The foundation was formed in response to drowning being the leading cause of injury death for Hawaii’s children (ages 1-14) and Hawaii having the second highest drowning rate per capita for all ages in the nation.

The Hawaii Aquatics Academy (HAA), the education branch of HAF, is a leader in providing comprehensive aquatic safety education content and services to Hawaii’s schools. Since our inception, over 2,500 students from twenty-five public and charter elementary schools (on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Maui, and Oahu) have participated in our during-school-hours aquatic safety education program. The course consists of one hour of classroom-based cognitive skill instruction (typically two 30-minute lessons) and four hours of pool-based cognitive and physical skill instruction (typically eight 30-minute lessons).

The goals of HAA’s aquatic injury prevention education programs are aligned with the recommendations of the CDC, ILS, WHO, and other internationally recognized organizations and researchers. We believe that aquatic safety education, which includes water safety, personal survival, and rescue skills, should begin for everyone (regardless of ability or background) at the earliest age possible and continue through young adulthood.

In addition to providing youth aquatic safety education services, we perform research to support the advocacy and development of a broad range of aquatic injury intervention initiatives. Our data-driven research has been used to affirm long-standing local assumptions, consistent with national studies, that children in Hawaii’s lower-income areas are at a disadvantage with respect to personal aquatic safety competencies and the protective factors they provide.

In order to reduce the risk of childhood drowning in our state, we believe every child should be provided equal access to a standards-based aquatic safety education during school hours. This data-driven position is affirmed by the reality that the majority of Hawaii’s children lack the set of basic skills necessary for drowning avoidance and self-recovery. The intervention of our school-supported programs, as further evidenced by the evaluation of post-instruction assessment data, demonstrates that measurable progress can be achieved toward a child’s development of personal aquatic safety competence regardless of their physical condition or their cultural, social, or economic circumstances.

Providing Hawaii’s elementary schools with the resources and expertise necessary to implement comprehensive aquatic safety education programs is the most effective path to reach the highest number of children. We look forward to the opportunity of working with like-minded community partners towards our shared goal of promoting the health and well-being of Hawaii’s children. Together we can make a difference by helping “To prepare the children of Hawaii with the attitudes, knowledge, skills, and experience they need to become Water Safer for Life®.”