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Float Like a Duck Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Award-Winning, Family-Friendly Water Safety Initiative Celebrates 20th Anniversary



Float Like a Duck Celebrates 20th Anniversary

(Las Vegas, NV) April 2023 – Float Like A Duck celebrates 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 Educating 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’ on-line 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&D’s of water safety, with a BIG emphasis on A-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 US 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, 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, and media partners KVVU-Fox-5, KTNV TV-13 & the Morning Blend, iHeart Media, La Buena 101.9, Beasley Broadcasting, 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. 

For more water safety information, tips, and videos are available on the website, social media, and on YouTube.

5/5 - (13 votes)

Marianne Trusty is a Press Correspondent for the pool & spa industry. A published author and social media influencer reaching over 20 million people around the world each day. Contact Marianne about publishing op-editorials, breaking pool news and press releases at [email protected]

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Press Releases

PHTA Launches New Jobseeker Website: 



PHTA Launches New Jobseeker Website: - Pool Industry Job Seekers

(Alexandria, VA) – The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA), the trade association representing the swimming pool, hot tub and spa industry, today announced a major milestone in its workforce development program as it launched its brand new jobseeker website, and robust job board made exclusively for PHTA member companies,  

The cornerstone of the program is the consumer website, which serves as the program hub and provides jobseekers with critical information about the industry, including in-demand positions, career tracks, earning potential, personal success stories and more. Members of PHTA are invited to create their very own Employer profiles and post jobs free of charge on the only industry-specific job board on the market. 

PHTA leadership first revealed plans for the program, known as the Pool Professionals Pipeline, at its board meeting last November. Alongside its experienced steering committee of industry experts, PHTA developed the program to enhance jobseeker awareness of the aquatics industry and to meet the demands for new talent amid member concerns over the labor shortage and the compounded effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

“The pool and hot tub industry is awash with potential for growth, but like many other industries today, we are limited due to the shortage of skilled labor and younger generations of workers entering trades such as ours,” said PHTA President and CEO Sabeena Hickman. “The importance of this program cannot be understated – we heard our members’ concerns loud and clear, and we’re proud to finally unveil this next step in our plan to welcome jobseekers to our industry.” 

Along with the jobseeker website and job board, the program will be supported by a social media presence on Facebook and LinkedIn, public relations, advertising campaigns and ongoing content development of videos, new resources and other assets. PHTA members can expect additional resources and ways to expand their visibility among today’s active jobseekers. 

The work for PHTA and the industry is just beginning. “To truly make a splash, we must prioritize investing in recruiting and training a new pool of candidates to join our industry,” said Hickman. “Having a visible presence and voice out there advocating for our industry is vital for our continued growth and success. PHTA is committed to supporting this jobseeker awareness campaign for the long-term – and ultimately, to driving engaged and qualified candidates to our members to find their new careers.” 

To learn more about PHTA’s program and access exclusive resources and opportunities, visit or contact [email protected].  

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Press Releases

PHTA Standards Consensus Committee Appoints New Members



PHTA Standards Consensus Committee Appoints New Members

The Pool & Hot Tub Alliance (PHTA) Standards Consensus Committee (SCC) is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Vice Chair and four new Voting Members. The SCC is PHTA’s official consensus voting body, responsible for reviewing and voting on all pool, spa, and hot tub standards to be approved by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). Members of the SCC are classified into one of four interest categories: Producer, User-Government, User-Consumer, or General Interest.

The new SCC Vice Chair is Bruce Carney, owner of American Pools & Spas in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He is a member in the Producer interest category. Carney has worked in the pool industry since 1970 in various capacities, including construction, design, renovation, facility evaluation, and maintenance. He was very involved with both the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals and the National Swimming Pool Foundation before they merged into PHTA, and has also been both a trainer and a presenter for the American Red Cross.

The SCC’s four new Voting Members are:

  • Kevin Baugh, User-Government
    Baugh is an Environmental Health Specialist III for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment in Olathe, KS. He earned a Master of Environment Policy and Management and a Bachelor of Environmental Science from American Public University Systems. Baugh holds several professional certifications, including Certified Pool & Spa Operator and Certified Environmental Scientist.
  • Megan Ferraro, User-Consumer
    Ferraro is Executive Director of The ZAC Foundation in Malvern, PA. She earned a B.A. in Political Science from Villanova University. Ferraro has been an advocate for water safety for over 10 years and serves as Co-Chair for both the CA Water Safety Coalition Board and the National Drowning Prevention Alliance Advisory Committee.
  • Alan Korn, User-Consumer
    Korn is Executive Director and General Counsel of Abbey’s Hope Charitable Foundation in Washington, DC. He earned his JD from Washington University Law School and his BS from Indiana University. He has worked in the water safety and product safety community for over 25 years, including the original development and further revisions of the Virginia Graeme Baker Act.
  • Lexi Schmidt, User-Consumer
    Schmidt is a Senior Mechanical Engineer at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and a Professional Engineer License for the state of Florida. At Walt Disney World, she has spent nearly 10 years working on commercial pool systems and consulting on new build designs.

“I’d like to congratulate Bruce and welcome the new members of the Standards Consensus Committee,” says SCC Chair Kris Bridges, MCP, CBO, CZA, Building Official/Zoning Administrator for the City of Martinsville, VA. “I know our new members will bring a significant breadth of knowledge from the areas of pool compliance, advocacy, construction, and operation. The SCC performs an important step in the process of Standards Development and it’s wonderful to have these talented professionals on board.”

PHTA is the leading industry organization recognized by ANSI to develop and promote national consensus standards for residential and public swimming pools, hot tubs, and spas. In 2023, PHTA is proudly celebrating 40 years of being an ANSI Accredited Standards Developer.

For more information, please visit the Standards Consensus Committee webpage on the PHTA website or contact [email protected].

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Nearly Half of Parents Say Their Child Does Not Know How to Swim



PHOENIX, May 18, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Many Americans do not know how to swim, placing themselves at risk as they enjoy swimming pools, lakes, rivers, and oceans this summer.

  • May marks the 20th Annual National Water Safety Month to call attention to water safety and the importance of learning to swim.
  • Leslie’s, the leading direct-to-consumer pool and spa brand in the U.S., teams up with Cullen Jones, four-time Olympic swimming medalist and the first African American swimmer to hold a world swimming record, to raise awareness of the importance of swimming lessons; maintaining healthy and safe pool water; and securing pool areas.
  • National retailer launches in-store program, May 5 – October 31, to raise funds for Boys and Girls Clubs of America and YMCA to support swim lessons and water safety education programs.

According to a recent Leslie’s-commissioned survey conducted by The Harris Poll, only 63% of U.S. adults say they are very comfortable being around water, and as much as 36% of those surveyed say they do not know how to swim.

The numbers are even more alarming for children. Nearly half the parents of children under 18 years of age say their child does not know how to swim, and 61% say their child has not taken swimming lessons. Almost 30% of parents say they are concerned about their child drowning.

Those concerns are well-founded. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), every year in the U.S. there are an estimated 4,000 fatal drownings and 8,000 nonfatal drownings. Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. among children ages one to four years with the majority of the drownings occurring in swimming pools versus natural bodies of water. The CDC also reports that drowning is the second-leading cause of unintentional injury death in children and adolescents ages 5 to 19 years old, behind motor vehicle crashes. Among children 5 to 14 years of age, 30% of the drowning deaths occur in swimming pools, while more than half of the drownings among people 15 years or older are in natural waters such as lakes, rivers, and oceans.

“Children are irresistibly drawn to water, whether it’s a backyard pool, a pond, or a river. It’s better to teach them how to be safe in the water than to instruct them to avoid it and hope they listen,” said Cullen Jones, four-time Olympic swimming medalist, who is now a swimming lessons advocate and Leslie’s water safety collaboration partner. “Learning to be safe and at ease in the water also opens up a whole new world of recreational and athletic possibilities, such as boating, fishing and competitive swimming, among others.”     

Jones nearly drowned at age five. His mother reacted — not by keeping him out of the water, but by enrolling him in swimming lessons, where he thrived. While swimming lessons are important, pool owners should take additional safety precautions to prevent drownings.

Three Tenets of Water Safety
A priority at Leslie’s is to spread awareness of three primary tenets of pool safety, including maintaining healthy and safe water, ensuring a secure pool area, and encouraging swimming lessons and water safety education.

Leslie’s is dedicated to helping its customers stay safe during swim season and all year long. To maintain clean and healthy water, regular testing is crucial to uphold proper water balance.  Leslie’s makes it easy with its free AccuBlue in-store water test and treatment plan. The AccuBlue technology is a product of Leslie’s 60 years of water testing experience and the accumulated data from more than 50 million tests. AccuBlue covers 10 parameters and generates a water health score and customized treatment plan to help pool owners get their water back in balance. The company offers additional products, tools, and information to stay safe in and around the pool, from the latest in pool security fencing, gates, safety covers, and alarms to learn-to-swim products.

Encouraging swimming lessons and education, Leslie’s is proud to support the water safety efforts of the YMCA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America. From May 5 through October 31, 2023, Leslie’s will be accepting customer donations in all their more than 1,000 stores across the nation and online to support water safety programs. To benefit our communities, 100% of all donations will be split equally between the YMCA and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, both of whom share Leslie’s passion for water safety. Leslie’s and its customers have contributed more than $500,000 to these two nonprofit organizations. For the first time, Leslie’s is sponsoring the Phoenix location of the World’s Largest Swim Lesson, to be held at the South Valley YMCA on June 22, 2023.

About Leslie’s
Founded in 1963, Leslie’s is the largest and most trusted direct-to-consumer brand in the U.S. pool and spa care industry. The Phoenix-based Company serves the aftermarket needs of residential and professional consumers with an extensive and largely exclusive assortment of essential pool and spa care products. The Company operates an integrated ecosystem of more than 1,000 physical locations and a robust digital platform, enabling consumers to engage with Leslie’s whenever, wherever, and however they prefer to shop. Its dedicated team of associates, pool and spa care experts, and experienced service technicians are passionate about empowering Leslie’s consumers with the knowledge, products, and solutions necessary to confidently maintain and enjoy their pools and spas. 

For more information about Leslie’s, visit or follow and engage with us: @lesliespoolcare on Instagram, Leslie’s on Facebook, and @lesliespoolcare on Twitter.

About Cullen Jones
Cullen Jones is a four-time Olympic medalist and the first African American swimmer to hold a world record. He nearly drowned at age five in a water park in Pennsylvania and after that incident his mother enrolled him in swim lessons, and it soon became clear that Jones had natural talent as a swimmer. He dedicates a significant portion of his time to his role as a water safety advocate. He is a partner of Leslie’s, the most trusted consumer brand in the U.S. pool and spa care industry, as the voice of water safety, especially during May, Water Safety Month, and across the entire swim season.

About the Survey
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by The Harris Poll on behalf of Leslie’s from April 25-27, 2023, among 2,050 adults ages 18 and older, including 687 parents of children under age 18. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, household income, education, marital status, and size of household where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The sampling precision of Harris online polls is measured by using a Bayesian credible interval. For this study, the sample data is accurate to within + 2.8 percentage points using a 95% confidence level. This credible interval will be wider among subsets of the surveyed population of interest. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to other multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including, but not limited to coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.

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