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Impacting Lives Through Drowning Prevention

Our service area consists of 989 square miles of water. This does not take into account the number of pools that our children have access to.

  • 3 kids die every day from drowning
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of death for kids ages 5-14
  • Drowning is the second leading cause of accidental death among children in the state of Virginia
  • For every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries
  • Children ages 5-14 most often drown in swimming pools and open water
  • 58% of parents do not consider drowning a threat to their children
  • 88% of kids who drown do so under parental supervision
  • 60% of kids who drown do so within 10 feet of safety

To help reduce these dreadful statistics, the YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas' Endowment Fund has pledged to offer free water safety classes for all second graders in our service area — over 7,000 second graders.

In Safety Around Water, children learn what to do if they find themselves in the water unexpectedly:

They learn fundamental water safety skills that include the concepts of reach, throw, don't go, CPR, and what to look for in a safe place to swim.

Jump-push-turn-grab teaches a child to push off the bottom of the pool as they are submerging to get back up to the surface while turning to grab the side of the pool.

Swim-float-swim teaches children to swim a short distance on their front, roll over onto their back to rest, and then roll on their front to continue swimming to safety.

All YMCAs of the Virginia Peninsulas, even those without pools, offer the Safety Around Water swim program. We work together with schools and school systems to ensure that all second graders have the opportunity to learn to swim. Contact your local Y to learn how to get your school involved.

Teaching children to be safe around water is just as important as teaching them how to properly cross the street. As an organization dedicated to creating safe spaces for all, the Y has committed to teaching free water safety classes for every second grader every year. This is a mission program funded through the YMCA Endowment Fund.

Water Safety Tips

Always ask permission before entering the water. 


Water Safety Tips

Always swim with a buddy.

Water Safety Tips

Children, inexperienced swimmers, and boaters should wear a U.S Coast Guard-approved life jacket.

Water Safety Tips

Whenever possible, swim near a lifeguard.