According to a 2010 report from the World Health Organization (WHO) drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths and approximately 388,000 deaths each year. Many of those deaths are children and most occur in low- to middle-income countries.
The global burden from death by drowning is found across the world. Coastal drownings in the United States alone cost $273 million each year, and hundreds of millions of dollars in other countries as well (WHO 2010). Death by drowning also causes unnecessary pain and sorrow for the deceased’s loved ones, and is a burden on humanity that can be greatly reduced and avoided through the continued implementation of drowning prevention strategies on a global scale.
Countless agencies and organizations across the world are working to implement prevention strategies to reduce drownings. These tactics include education, legislation, technology, awareness, and increased lifeguard supervision—all have aided in keeping drowning rates fairly level despite an increase in world population and increased exposure to water through sports, tourism, travel, and other such activities worldwide.
Prioritizing ways to assist agencies, communities, and governments worldwide in reducing and eliminating drowning rates is ISLA’s primary goal. Our work ranges from assisting sustainable lifeguard agencies to working in undeveloped areas with no lifeguard presence. Our specialties include conducting lifeguard training seminars with the Red Cross/Red Crescent, creating education materials in several languages and learning formats, and providing necessary medical supplies and volunteer aid to areas of the world in desperate need.
ISLA’s funding comes from government, foundation, and business organizations that believe in our mission. It is our role and responsibility to use our resources to promote and provide aid where needed, and to work to explore ways to create or help maintain sustainable lifesaving programs across the world.