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August 24, 2018

YMCA and Florida Blue announce FREE water safety program in Tampa Bay

By Laura Byrne

YMCAs from 5 Tampa Bay area regions are partnering with Florida Blue to offer FREE swim lessons to children across our area.

We have heard the heartbreaking statistics. The number one cause of accidental death for children in our area between the ages of 1 and 5 is drowning. This is a statistic the YMCA and Florida Blue are hoping to eliminate with the announcement of FREE Safety Around Water lessons for children throughout the Tampa Bay area.

Related: How to practice safety around water

The Florida Blue Foundation has contributed a $155,000 grant to expand the course called SAW (Safety Around Water) and its goal is simple… to teach kids how to be safe and boost their confidence around water.

“The Safety Around Water program is a one week long program. It is group swim lessons and it’s much more about what happens if you find yourself as a child having fallen in the water. How do you make sure you can push yourself off the bottom of the pool and get to the side and be safe. It really isn’t teaching kids how to swim, we have other progrmas for that. This is much more about how it is we can be safe around water,” explained G. Scott Goyer, president and CEO of YMCA of the Suncoast.

Certified intsructors will teach kids ages 3 to 12 two life saving skills if they happen to fall in or get into trouble in the water and they will also learn some basic skills to help keep them safe.

Related: 5 tips from the YMCA for a healthier and happier family

So how can you sign your child up for the lesson? Go to your local YMCA to find out when the classes begin for your neighborhood YMCA. There will be several courese offered this fall and more to come in the spring. YMCA membership is NOT required, but you do need to pre-register at one of the 30 locations throughout our area.

Related: Summer Safety Guidelines

Participating YMCA associations include the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, YMCA of the Suncoast, YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, Manatee YMCA and Sarasota YMCA.