Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area, YMCA of Metro Atlanta and WABE partner to raise awareness about drowning prevention

Safety campaign launching Labor Day weekend

ATLANTA – The Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area (park), YMCA of Metro Atlanta and WABE today announced a partnership to raise awareness about drowning prevention. In preparation for Labor Day weekend, the organizations have developed a water safety campaign to encourage individuals to use personal flotation devices (PFD) or life vests while swimming or playing in the Chattahoochee River.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 3,960 fatal, unintentional drownings occur each year in the U.S. Locally, more than 15 people have drowned in the national park’s Palisades unit in Cobb County since 2012. The overwhelming majority of the victims have been young Black males.

“Labor Day is the traditional end of summer, and we expect many visitors will spend their weekend in the park floating down the river,” said Ann Honious, superintendent of Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area. “While life vests and flotation devices should be used on the entire river, individuals recreating in the Palisades unit of the park should pay special attention to the guidance to wear a PFD. The Chattahoochee River has cold temperatures and a strong current that can be challenging even for expert swimmers.”

The water safety campaign will launch over Labor Day weekend with posters in the park’s Palisades unit to encourage visitors to use a PFD. In addition, the organizations will share a video featuring Patrice Childs, the mother of Priness Childs, who drowned in June while trying to save his cousins.

“It’s imperative individuals have the skills and knowledge to keep themselves safe in and around water,” said Becky Shipley, group vice president of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. “Through this partnership with Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area and WABE, we are sharing essential water safety skills to prevent drownings and save lives.”

“Working with Chattahoochee River National Recreational Area and the YMCA of Metro Atlanta to give Patrice Childs a platform to share her very personal story and vital, potentially life-saving information is in keeping with WABE’s mission to inform, inspire, reflect and empower the Atlanta community,” said WABE CEO/President Jennifer Dorian. “We hope our messages explaining the importance of wearing life vests on the river will keep people safe and prevent more mothers from having stories similar to Ms. Childs.”

Located in the regional Atlanta area, Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area contains 48 river miles and over 65 miles of hiking trails. The recreational opportunities include paddling, tubing, fishing and hiking. Learn more about the park at, and on Facebook and Instagram.

About the National Park Service

More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities.

About the YMCA of Metro Atlanta

For more than 160 years the YMCA of Metro Atlanta has been impacting lives and strengthening communities. As Atlanta has grown, the YMCA has also evolved to meet the changing needs of our community. Well-thought-out planning, while engaging stakeholders at various levels, provides the backdrop for sustainable change and positive impact at the YMCA of Metro Atlanta. By providing impactful services and support networks, and building bridges between people from all backgrounds, the Y has maintained its relevance, helping to create stronger, more cohesive communities for all.

About WABE

WABE, formerly Public Broadcasting Atlanta (PBA), operates public media stations WABE (90.1FM) and WABE TV (Channel 30), Atlanta’s original, independent, non-profit sources for news and local stories and choice for NPR and PBS. Our stations deliver fact-based journalism and inclusive, engaging, cultural content that informs, inspires, reflects, and empowers the millions who call the Greater Atlanta area home. WABE’s programs, podcasts, and events make Atlanta’s stories and storytellers accessible and relevant across a variety of platforms for our diverse audience of listeners, viewers, visitors and members.