Think of all the wonderful things you can do on or in the water - boating, fishing, skiing, swimming - and think about how very dangerous any of these activities can be if you don't know how to swim. A recent survey by the Red Cross indicates that upwards of 80% of people state that they can swim, but in actuality, only 56% of these people can actually perform five basic skills needed to be safe in the water.
You might think that swimming is a basic skill that most people have. In fact, you might have had swimming lessons as a child and consider yourself able to swim. But unless you can demonstrate what the Red Cross calls "basic water competency skills," you might not be as safe in the water as you assume.
More Than Just for Swimming Pools
While most of us consider learning to swim a basic skill for spending time in a swimming pool, it's a basic skill for other water-related activities, too. Spending a lazy day on a friend's pontoon boat, fishing from a lake dock or jon boat, canoeing or kayaking, visiting a waterpark, vacationing at the beach - if you're near water, knowing how to swim can be (quite literally) a lifesaver.
Why People Don't Learn to Swim
Basic swimming skills are helpful to everyone, and yet many don't learn to swim. Why? The top reason many give is fear. They may have had an unpleasant experience in the water that keeps them from pursuing swimming lessons, they may not like the feeling of water in their face, or they may feel uncomfortable swimming in water that isn't clear, such as in a lake. Others may have had parents who never learned to swim or had a fear of the water, and therefore didn't seek swimming instruction for their children. And for some, swimming lessons were impossible to take due to their location or ability to pay. But over and over and over again, the top piece of advice for water safety boils down to a single item: learn to swim.
Top 5 Reasons to Learn to Swim
- Reduce risk of drowning
- Build whole body strength
- Better coordination
- Confidence and motivation
- Physical activity that improves cognitive and academic performance
Accidental drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-14, behind motor vehicle crashes. Learning to swim is a life skill, and the child who does not learn this life skill becomes an adult who lacks the ability to be safe in the water.
Fortunately, swimming lessons are offered in various locations throughout the city of Evansville, and are available to both children and adults, in groups and one-on-one. A little research can help you to find the class that's right for your age and skill level, but to get you started here are some organizations offering swimming lessons:
- Bob's Gym
- Lloyd Pool
- Easter Seals of Southwestern Indiana
- Greater Evansville Aquatic Team
- Newburgh Sea Creatures
At the Gerling Firm, we hope everyone makes the effort to learn how swim and has asafe summer on the water. Let's make this summer a swimming success!