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Water Safety and Swimming

As "America's swim instructor," the YMCA teaches children of all ages and from all backgrounds that water should be fun, not feared, if you know how to stay safe in and around water.

Safety Around Water

From oceans to lakes to streams to swimming pools, water is everywhere: 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in it! And while water can be an irresistible place for kids to explore, play and enjoy splashy fun, it can be risky for those who haven’t yet developed their water smarts.

As part of the Y’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina provides at no cost swim instruction and water safety to children from under-served communities.

Program Overview

By learning sequences of life-saving skills over the course of the program, the risk of drowning is reduced, giving children confidence in and around water. A typical session includes:

  • Exercises to help kids adjust to being in water and learn how to move and swim.
  • Instruction in life-saving moves for children who find themselves in water over their heads: “Jump, Push, Turn, Grab” and “Swim, Float, Swim”.
  • Early safety topics, like what to do if you see someone in the water who needs help.
  • Fun activities that reinforce skills.


  • 60% of drownings occur within 10 feet of safety
  • 88% of children who drown are under some form of supervision
  • Two-thirds of all drowning accidents happen between May and August
  • In many cases drowning is silent – there often are no warning or splashing sounds
  • According to the CDC, drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death among children 5-14
  • Children of color are at least three times more likely to drown than their counterparts
  • Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4


Children in low-income areas of our city are generally not exposed to swimming and water safety.

swim lessonWhen & Where

The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina operates the Safety Around Water at branches in the following counties: Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Stokes, Wilkes and Yadkin.

To learn more or apply for a Safety Around Water program for your group, contact your local YMCA Aquatics Department or email Meagan Isaacs or Lucia Morillo at


We are grateful for the support of many area partners Davie Community Foundation and Mebane Charitable Foundation and the YMCA of the USA who provide finances and volunteers to ensure that this program can continue to grow in our communities. To learn more about how to support this program, please contact

Swim Lessons

For more information on swim lessons at the Y, please click here.

Did you know?

Parents and guardians have a critical role to play in teaching their kids water safety skills – but they don’t have to do it alone! Each year, the Y teaches more than one million kids life-saving swimming and safety around water skills.

Water Safety Tips for Parents and Guardians

  • Make sure kids know to always ask permission before going into or near water.
  • Designate a responsible adult to be a Water Watcher and maintain constant visual contact with all children playing in or near the water.
  • Water Watchers: make sure you’re not distracted by your phone, a book or other tasks.
  • Don’t rely on water toys to protect weak swimmers. Coast Guard-approved life jackets are the only water safety devices certified to protect children.
  • Teach children to avoid drains in the pool: drains can cause them to get trapped under the water.
  • Don’t let kids play breath-holding games. They can easily lose consciousness.

Our Mission: "Helping all people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body."