Float Like A Duck is celebrating two decades of sharing the importance of water safety. Float Like A Duck was founded by Paragon Pools’ President Joseph M. Vassallo as part of the company’s philanthropic endeavors with a mission of dducating the public on the importance of safety while celebrating the joys of water sports.
Since its launch in 2003, the water safety initiative — with messaging in English and Spanish — has achieved some notable milestones over the years including numerous accolades, hosting in-person events, publishing a water safety coloring book, releasing numerous water safety PSA videos, and establishing its own cheerful water safety mascot named Duckie, to name a few. In addition, Float Like A Duck has provided funding for free swimming lessons for at-risk youths and sponsors the Nevada Desert Mermaids artistic swimming team.
Float Like A Duck’s unique positive, family friendly messaging has made it a popular platform for others to embrace and share among their community. Individuals and organizations from all walks of life have volunteered their time to present at events, participate in making the videos, and/or allowing their likeness to become part of the water safety coloring book. And the media has also found Float Like A Duck to be a cheerful and informative storyline for their news stories.
Vassallo states, “Water and water sports are an integral part of our lives — whether it be in the bath, a pool, at the lake, or beach. Our goal through the Float Like A Duck program is to prepare the entire family with water safety skills, practices and preventative measures to ensure every experience is an enjoyable one.”
The 20th anniversary campaign concentrates on enhancing the initiatives’ online presence, providing a wide resource of information, tips and videos for consumers, non-profits, and fellow water safety advocates. New content is continuously being added, and a common theme focuses on enforcing the ABC&Ds of water safety, with a big emphasis on adult supervision.
Each YouTube video offers a unique perspective on water safety, and several are featured in Spanish. “Water safety encompasses all types of water-related environments — not just the pool. Therefore, each year, we brainstorm on how we can share the water safety message in different capacities,” states Vassallo. “Some of the videos target situations and/or elements that adults may not consider to be a vulnerable setting for their child.”
The objective is to educate families on steps they can take to keep their loved ones safe by bringing attention to situations and providing them with a pro-active safety tip to ensure a safe and fun lifestyle. May is National Water Safety Month; however, we want the public to be conscious about water safety during the entire summer swim season as well as throughout the year.
The Float Like A Duck team encourages households to enjoy the Float Like A Duck webpages, downloadable coloring book, and videos as a family unit, and then discuss the various elements so that everyone — including grandparents, teens and kids — have an appreciation for water-centric activities and how to stay safe. Float Like A Duck resources can also be a helpful tool when discussing water safety with a caregiver, baby sitter or au pair.
The national, award-winning program has been recognized by the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition, the Nevada Governor’s Points of Light Awards, the National Drowning Prevention Alliance, the National Water Safety Congress, and Kix Brooks- Kidde Hero of the Week. Several of the videos have also received awards for their production and content. Float Like a Duck/Paragon Pools has received three grants since 2021 from the PHTA Step Into Swim foundation. One hundred percent of the funds are presented to swimming programs throughout the Las Vegas community to provide free swimming lessons for at-risk youths in the valley. The 2023 Grant will be presented to the City of Las Vegas to utilize in their swimming lessons programs.
Float Like A Duck is an official partner of the PHTA National Water Safety Month, and the USCPSC Pool Safely program. Vassallo was also a founding board member of the Southern Nevada Child Drowning Prevention Coalition. And Float Like a Ducks’ messaging physically crossed the U.S. borders in 2021 and 2022 when packets of water safety coloring books were presented to Cabo San Lucas Fire Department Fire Chief Juan A Carabajal Figueroa for his community.
The campaign has succeeded in growing support over the 20 years, where thousands have been exposed to floating and other lifesaving skills. Program partners have included the City of Las Vegas; Clark County, Las Vegas; the City of Henderson & Rad Tad Travels; first responders Las Vegas Metro; LV Metro Volunteer Police & Mascot McGruff; Las Vegas Fire & Rescue and the Nevada Highway Patrol; along with the YMCA; Danny Romero Designs; UMC Children’s Hospital; Hearts Alive Village Las Vegas; SNCDPC; SNHD; Las Vegas Sky Cam; Mirage Las Vegas; Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden; Dolphin Habitat; Mary Vail MBA Publicist; Nevada Desert Mermaids; Ovia Entertainment; media partners KVVU-Fox-5, KTNV TV-13 and the Morning Blend; iHeart Media; La Buena 101.9; Beasley Broadcasting; and Pin Point Publications. As well as pool industry partners: the PHTA, Fluidra, Cover Pools, Paramount Pool Systems, PebbleTec, Adams Pool Solutions, POOLCORP, National Pool Tile, and Carecraft.