Aquatic Safety Competencies #
Despite the longstanding association between learn-to-swim lessons and perceived aquatic safety, there has been a growing consensus among drowning prevention experts and researchers over the last decade that aquatic safety educationAquatic safety educationThe development of aquatic safety competencies, through the acquisition of safety knowledge, physical skills, and situational experience, that are essential to both the avoidance of and the recovery from hazardous aquatic situations. programs need to address more than an individual’s ability to swim. Recent evidence-based research by aquatic injury prevention education experts has therefore focused on identifying personal competencies that are necessary for safe interactions in, on, and around aquatic environments. Comprehensive aquatic safety education programs should use such competencies as a foundation for a balanced learning approach to the acquisition of the knowledge, skills, and experience necessary for the safety of individuals and those in their care.
The Aquatic Safety Competencies taxonomy, illustrated in the table below, is based off work by Stallman, Moran, Quan, and Langendorfer (2017), who proposed a set of competencies to be used as a foundation for developing aquatic safety and drowning prevention education programs that better address the “dynamic and complex nature of drowning”. Stallman, R. K.; Moran, K.; Quan, L.; & Langendorfer, S. (2017). "From Swimming Skill to Water Competence: Towards a More Inclusive Drowning Prevention Future", International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education. 10(2)(3): 25. DOI: 10.25035/ijare.10.02.03. The Hawaii Aquatics Foundation (HAF) has furthered this research and also organized the Aquatic Safety Competencies into three categories (domains): Aquatic Safety Knowledge, Aquatic Motor Skills, and Aquatic Situation Skills.
|Aquatic Safety Competencies #|
Aquatic Safety Knowledge:
Aquatic Motor Skills:
Aquatic Situation Skills:
Each of the sixteen competencies in the taxonomy is a collection of cognitiveCognitive abilityThe means to process, retrieve, and store information and knowledge. , physicalPhysical abilityThe means or proficiency to perform a motor skill, or set of skills, correctly and consistently. , and affectiveAffective abilityThe means to process and respond to attitudes, values, and emotions. Attitudes are an enduring and guiding set of outlooks that influence behavior, and values are principles that impact the likelihood of an individual choosing to act or not in a given situation. abilities developed through the acquisition of knowledge, skills, and experience. The competencies are assigned to a domain based on similar safety objectives, teaching methods, and learning outcomes. By their nature, the competencies are deeply related to one another, and to achieve a degree of competence in one often requires that a certain degree of competence be achieved in another. This relationship between competencies is further illustrated by the fact that most aquatic emergencies place demands on multiple competencies, either simultaneously or sequentially.
The Aquatic Safety Knowledge domain is the set of competencies that define the components necessary to make safe decisions and manage risk in, on, and around aquatic environments. The Aquatic Motor Skills domain is the set of competencies that define different methods of physically interacting with aquatic environments in a safe, consistent, and repeatable manner. The Aquatic Situation Skills domain is the set of competencies that define combinations of knowledge and skills necessary to understand and prepare for distinct circumstances and adverse conditions found in a variety of aquatic environments and hazardous situations. Together, these three domains and their associated competencies provide the foundation for HAF’s Aquatic Safety Education programs.
- Stallman, R. K.; Moran, K.; Quan, L.; & Langendorfer, S. (2017). "From Swimming Skill to Water Competence: Towards a More Inclusive Drowning Prevention Future", International Journal of Aquatic Research and Education. 10(2)(3): 25. DOI: 10.25035/ijare.10.02.03.