The 2024 Water Safety Season Toolkit Is Now Live


Water Competency

Water Competency

Water Competency & the Skills to Survive

Learn to enhance your water safety skills to help reduce the risk of drowning for yourself and for those around you.

Layers of Protection - Learn to Swim

Everyone Should Learn to Swim

Swimming is not an instinctive skill for humans. We cannot survive in water unless we are taught basic skills. All adults and children should learn these crucial skills as soon as possible. All caretakers must understand that children are never considered “drown proof,” even if they have undergone swim lessons. Nothing will ever eliminate the risk of drowning, but learning to swim equips children with a life-saving layer of protection.

Layers of Protection - When to Start

When to Start & Where to Look

Speak with your pediatrician before considering any water safety/swimming lessons for children. The AAP recommends starting swim lessons as early as age 1. By taking formal swimming lessons, children ages 1-4 can reduce their drowning risk by 88%. Water competency and swim lessons should be continuous, and not taken for just one season – skills need to be developed and maintained during the entire year.

Layers of Protection - Water Safety Course & Rescue Equipment

Swim Lesson Recommendations

Look for swim programs that have experienced, certified, and qualified instructors. Learn to swim programs should teach safety in, on, and around the water and teach students what to do if they end up in the water unexpectedly. Ensure that the program maintains accepted water quality, keeps the water warm, and has a safety plan in place. Use our Swim Program Checklist when visiting a program to help you find the right swim program for your family.

Finding the Right Swim Program

Identify the right swim program for your child by downloading our Swim Program Decision Chart and Checklist!

Know the 5 Layers of Protection

Prevent the tragedy of drowning by implementing the 5 layers of protection.

Barriers & Alarms

BARRIERS & ALARMS — It's important to use four-sided fencing with self-closing, self-latching gates, pool safety covers, and alarm systems, to help prevent children and unauthorized adults from accessing water unsupervised.

Learn More About Barriers & Alarms

SUPERVISION — Stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings with close, constant, and capable adult supervision from a designated water watcher or lifeguard anytime children are in or around water.

Learn More About Supervision
Water Competency

WATER COMPETENCY — Every child and adult should be equipped with the skills to protect themselves in water by learning and enhancing their basic water safety skills to reduce the risk of drowning and aquatic-related injuries.

Learn More About Water Competency
Life Jackets

LIFE JACKETS — When used appropriately, life jackets protect you when you are not expecting to be in the water, especially around open water. Ensure your life jackets are tested & approved by the USCG.

Learn More About Life Jackets
Emergency Preparation

EMERGENCY PREPARATION — Knowing how to prepare for an emergency with CPR training with rescue breaths and basic water rescue skills can make the difference between life and death. Have a phone available and ready to call 911.

Learn More About Emergency Prep.
Layers Work Together

LAYERS OF PROTECTION — Water safety isn’t just during swim time. Each layer should be used together when in or around water to help reduce the risk of drowning. You never know which layer will save a life.

Learn More About Layers