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Joint Service Water Safety Working Group meets, plans for 2019 water safety

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MARCOA Media
Story by LCpl Brennan Priest on 03/12/2019
KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa, Japan The Joint Service Water Safety Working Group met to Mar. 11 on Kadena Air Base.

Members from the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Air Force, 11th Regional Japanese Coast Guard and the Water Safety Division from the Okinawa Prefecture Police Headquarters attended the meeting in order to provide input for this year's campaigns.

"Due to our location here on Okinawa, water safety is a big factor in force readiness," said Steven Longwell, the safety director, Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan. "The water working group was developed in the early 90's in order to identify things we can do to reduce mishaps in the water. The decisions that happen in these meetings affects all the service members in Okinawa, so it's huge."

The meetings are held annually to review current water safety procedures and to discuss new policy recommendations.

This year's meeting focused on public service announcements, weekly dive reports, off limits areas, water incident patterns, and plans for new instructional classes.

A major topic snorkeling education. The group plans to implement classes and training for service members that provides a deeper look into water safety.

"A lot of people didn't grow up near the ocean and simply don't know the dangers of the ocean," said Longwell. "The most important part of water safety is to not go above your skill level."

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