Lawmakers push to add water safety education to health, phys ed classes following recent drownings

Drownings off Wildwood, at a lake in Ocean County, in a pool in Bayonne and most recently at Belmar Beach have the attention of some lawmakers who want to add water safety education to New Jersey school health and phys ed classes.  
“A lot of people come down to enjoy the ocean from other areas of the state where they are not as familiar with the conditions of the ocean, which could be dangerous,” says Assembly Member Sean Kean.
Kean wants mandatory water safety education added to the state curriculum.
“It’s not political, it’s not partisan, it’s not trying to single out different classes of people,” says Kean. “Everyone needs to know how to swim or at a minimum, know what not to do."
Police also discovered a body Tuesday in Ocean County near where a 59-year-old woman went missing after going for a swim. Police say the woman was last seen at Island Beach State Park Monday around 8:30 p.m.
Joe Oehme, with New Jersey Swim Schools Inc., teaches swimming lessons to children as young as 3 months old all the way up to adults in their 80s.  
“On average every year in New Jersey, we see about 10 deaths from drowning,” says Oehme. “This year since June 1, we’ve had seven already. It’s tragic, it’s avoidable with education, and Sean’s bill hopefully will have a widespread reach to children who typically don’t get the education they do here down the shore.”
Five years ago, two elementary school girls from Belmar drowned just steps away from where Monday’s tragedy happened. In both cases, lifeguards were not on active duty. The best advice is to never swim without a lifeguard watching you.