Water competency entails more than a perception of just being able to swim and an operational definition of water competency is necessary for learn-to-swim program evaluation and policy development. To devise an operational definition, members of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Aquatic subcouncil surveyed nine key national (United States) organizations, 14 international organizations, and 19 other key informants involved with water safety and swimming activities for their requirements for swimming in the “deep end.” The most frequently reported variables included (a) distance swum, (b) floating or treading water, (c) entrance into water unassisted, and (d) exit from the water unassisted. The subcouncil proposed that water competency include the following: (1) entry with total submersion; (2) recovery to the surface and float or tread for at least 1 min; (3) turn 360° and orient toward an exit point; (4) level off and move on front and/or on back position for at least 25 yards; and (5) exit from the water. We note that water competency is influenced by conditions of the aquatic environment (e.g., water temperature, movement, depth) into which the person may be introduced, and that skills demonstrated in one aquatic environment may not transfer to another. Our proposed operational definition for water competency provides an initial framework for an expanded version that may be expanded to be used globally.