Safety Around Water
71% of the world is water & children are 100% curious
From lakes to pools and rivers, there is water everywhere in Tampa Bay. In fact, recent data
shows in 2018 six children drowned in Pasco County — two more than in 2017. Statewide, the
number of child drowning deaths was 88, up 7 percent from the prior year, according to the
Florida Department of Children and Families.
The Y, Florida Blue Foundation and Juvenile Welfare Board are committed to reducing these
staggering statistics. “Drowning can happen nearly anywhere with standing water,” says G. Scott
Goyer, President and CEO of the YMCA of the Suncoast. “As a parent or caregiver, you need to
equip your children with the tools they need to be confident in and around water.”
Since data shows formal swim lessons cut the risk of drowning by 88 percent, the YMCAs of
Tampa Bay are offering free Safety Around Water lessons to children throughout the summer,
thanks to the generosity of the Juvenile Welfare Board and Florida Blue Foundation.
“One of the perks of living in Tampa Bay is the abundance of water that surrounds us. From
oceans to springs to pools, it’s a part of our life each day,” says David Pizzo, Florida Blue market
president for West Florida. “Unfortunately, it can also be extremely hazardous for young
children. As part of our mission to help people and communities achieve better health, we’re
proud to support the YMCA’s work to equip young children and their families with essential water
The Safety Around Water program is free and open to the entire community, beginners and non-
swimmers, ages 3-12 years. During the 4-day course, certified instructors teach kids a
sequenced set of skills that will reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and
around water. Each 40-minute class includes exercises to help kids adjust to being in the water.
Kids learn “Jump, Push, Turn, Grab” and “Swim, Float, Swim,” two skill sets they can use if they
unexpectedly find themselves in the water or in an area they cannot touch bottom. Specific
safety topics are covered including what to do if you see someone in the water who needs help.
You don’t have to be a YMCA member to participate in the free Safety Around Water program
offered across Tampa Bay. Participants must be present on the first day of class and bring their
own swimsuit and towel. Due to limited space, pre-registration is required at these participating
Citrus Memorial Health Foundation YMCA: June 3-7 & Aug. 5-9
James P. Gills Family YMCA: June 3-6, July 1-5 & Aug. 19-22
Clearwater YMCA: June 24-27
Hernando County YMCA: July 29-Aug. 2
Greater Palm Harbor: July 15-18
The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA, YMCA of Greater St. Petersburg, Manatee
YMCA and Sarasota YMCA are also participating. Dates and times vary based on
location. Contact your nearby Y for details.