Young Nova Scotians are learning basic swimming skills for surviving an unexpected fall into deep water.
The Nova Scotia branch of the Lifesaving Society of Canada is using a $35,000 provincial grant to lead Swim to Survive training for Grade 3 students.
“This is National Drowning Prevention Week, and it’s important to encourage parents and children to focus on water safety and basic survival skills for emergency situations,” said Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson. “By supporting the Lifesaving Society to offer the Swim to Survive program, we’re helping young Nova Scotians learn skills for a lifetime of safe enjoyment of water activities.”
The program teaches children how to safely roll into water, tread water for one minute, and swim 50 metres. It is intended to complement swimming lessons, not replace them.
“We’re pleased to receive this support from the province for the Swim to Survive program,” said Mike Melenchuk, president of the Nova Scotia branch of the Lifesaving Society. “Basic swimming ability is fundamental in any meaningful attempt to reduce or eliminate drowning in Nova Scotia.”
The Lifesaving Society co-ordinates with elementary schools and aquatic facilities across the province to offer the program during the school year. There is a water component and a classroom component. This spring, more than 3,800 Grade 3 students were trained. The program will continue when school resumes in September.
More information on Swim to Survive is available at lifesavingsociety.ns.ca . Funding for the program was provided through Thrive!, the province’s strategy for a healthier Nova Scotia. More information on Thrive! is available at thrive.novascotia.ca .