BOSTON – A man whose 4-year-old son drowned at a town-operated summer camp in 2007 is pushing Massachusetts lawmakers to take action to prevent similar tragedies.

Derek Frechette of Sturbridge was visibly emotional during a Statehouse event Thursday in which he called for passage of a bill that would require all summer camps run by the state or towns to have lifejackets available for children, and require that camps honor the wishes of parents who want their children to wear flotation devices while swimming.

Christian Frechette was pulled from about 3 feet of water next to a dock at Cedar Lake. Authorities said at the time that he was among about 40 children attending the Sturbridge Recreational Day Camp and that several lifeguards were on duty that day.

“I still have nightmares that he is under the water calling me, saying ‘Daddy, why don’t you save me,”‘ Derek Frechette said. “I feel like I failed him because I couldn’t get there in time.”

Frechette has said he brought lifejackets for Christian and the boy’s then 5-year-old brother to wear while swimming, but staff told him they were not allowed at the camp. “Within two hours, my son was gone,” he said.

Town officials have disputed Frechette’s version of events. The Worcester District Attorney’s office ruled the death an accidental drowning.

The bill, which would also require camps to assess the swimming skills of all campers during the first swimming session of the summer, has the backing of Sen. Stephen Brewer, who said that as a child he lost his 4-year-old brother to a drowning when their mother turned around for a moment to hang clothes on a line.

The bill won unanimous approval in the Senate last year and was recently released from a key House panel, meaning it could come up for a vote soon in that chamber.