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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote, and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, and community efforts.

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Drowning Prevention

Florida Department of Health in Broward County


Drowning is the leading cause of death of children ages 1-4 years in Broward County. The majority of drownings occur when a child walks out the door unsupervised! Through funding from the Children’s Services Council of Broward County (CSC) and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, the Florida Department of Health in Broward County (DOH-Broward) leads the efforts in drowning prevention in Broward County by coordinating a community-wide response to this issue. In addition to leading the Drowning Prevention Task Force, DOH-Broward provides drowning prevention information, education and resources to the community, student advocates, child-serving organizations, first responders, municipalities, and pool professionals. DOH-Broward also provides scholarships to cover the cost of the Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor program for Broward County high school students and recent high school graduates.

Drowning Prevention Task Force:

The Drowning Prevention Task Force is a community coalition that develops and implements strategies and coordinates drowning prevention efforts throughout Broward County to support Water SMART Broward.

Coalition members include experts in aquatics, public health, law enforcement, fire rescue, local hospitals, pediatricians, family strengthening providers, children's services providers, local municipalities, and community members. For more information, visit Water Smart Broward Task Force.

Swim Coupon

DOH-Broward and the CSC have partnered with Broward County’s SWIM Central program to provide a coupon with a value of $40 to help offset the cost of swimming instruction for children ages 6 months to 8 years old. 

Click here to receive a swim coupon.

Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor Scholarship

There has been a recent shortage of lifeguards and water safety instructors in Broward County. To help with the shortage and promote water safety, DOH-Broward, Water SMART Broward, and the CSC have founded and sponsored the Lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor Scholarship program.

This scholarship helps cover the cost for Broward County high school students and recent high school graduates to become a certified lifeguard and/or water safety instructor. After applying and once approved, the scholarship will be valid only at participating licensed training providers.

For more information: Lifeguard Water Safety Instructor Scholarship–Water SMART Broward 


Students Preventing Unintentional Drownings (S.P.U.D.) are student clubs that mobilize, educate, and equip Florida youth in preventing drownings and promoting water safety practices. The clubs are run by students, a teacher adviser, and they are overseen by DOH-Broward.

S.P.U.D. is an initiative formed between DOH-Broward and Broward County Public Schools. Students in these clubs gain leadership skills as they take it upon themselves to educate their peers on the importance of water safety. The clubs are provided with resources on drowning prevention from DOH-Broward, and the S.P.U.D. club students independently engage with their school on projects promoting water safety. Students complete projects such as presentations, beach cleanups, and water safety advocacy.

Water SMART Communities

Water SMART Communities is an initiative designed to work with municipalities in Broward County to promote safe water practices within communities and to eliminate hazards and factors attributed to drowning. To promote water safety practices in their community, each municipality has the option to voluntarily fulfill requirements on a yearly basis as outlined by DOH-Broward. Depending on the goals met, the municipality will receive an award for achieving one of the following three tiers: bronze, silver or gold.

For more information: Water SMART Communities–Water SMART Broward 

Multi-unit Complexes

The Drowning Prevention Program provides the following to residents of multi-unit complexes:

  • Hosts outreach events at clubhouse and/or pool deck.
  • Pool signs with safety tips
  • Educational resources
  • Presentations
  • Drowning risk factors
  • Broward County resident resources
  • New resident folders packed with water safety literature.
  • Onsite presentation and/or training (CPR demonstrations and trainings)

Community Education:

Drowning prevention education and awareness training are provided through DOH-Broward, community education with Broward Sheriff’s Office Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services, and other local community partners.