Teaching todays youth the importance of safety around water

Safety Around Water


The Safety Around Water program is a 5-week intensive program that teaches water safety skills to local third grade students. Students are brought to the YMCA West facility by school-provided transportation and supervision, and in some instances – the YMCA instructors go travel to the schools. The kids receive a 45-minute lesson in our aquatic facility on the 5 crucial skills needed to stay safe around water. The YMCA is committed to reducing drowning in the Northern Michigan region through this program, along with the hundreds of youth and adult swim lessons offered at multiple locations.


Safety Around Water gives children confidence in and around water by teaching boating safety, beach safety, backyard pool and regular pool safety, and a day of celebrating to practice skills and show off what they learned.

Face in Water: being able to comfortably submerge their faces in water.

PRE: 43%
POST: 94%

Back Float: being able to float on their backs.
PRE: 22%
POST: 83%

Tread Water: being able to stay afloat while vertical using just your arms and legs.
PRE: 28%
POST: 76%

Swim 10 Feet: being able to swim 10 feet with or without assistance. This is vital as 60% of youth drownings happen within 10 feet of safety.
PRE: 29%
POST: 81%

Reach, Throw, Do Not Go: refers to knowing that if someone is in trouble in the water, you are to reach something out to them, throw something to them that will float, but never go in after them. This is the cause of many double drownings.
PRE: 33%
POST: 100%


Because this program is a direct partnership between the YMCA and local schools, the entire cost of the program is funded by the YMCA.

It is a central program in our offerings and we’re strongly committed to making it a reality for hundreds of kids each year.