On Thursday, June 14th the City of Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department kicked off its summer season by hosting the “World’s Largest Swimming Lesson”. This nationwide annual event is designed to bring awareness of the importance of knowing how to swim and making yourself safe around water.
This year well over 200 young people participated in Lakeland’s effort to break the record of people being introduced to water safety, through a mass swimming lesson. However, the number of participants is not as important as the number of people who are encouraged, by this event, to become more skilled in keeping themselves safe around water.
One thing that was stressed, during the lesson, was the mantra “Reach or Throw; Don’t Go.” This teaches that the best course of action when you see someone in trouble in the water is to use a pole or a rope to reach them or to throw them a floatation device so that they can get safely back to shore. The most important thing to know, however, is how to swim. So the City of Lakeland would like you to join them for swimming lessons scheduled throughout the summer.
Swimming is one of life's great pleasures. It offers many health and fitness benefits, cools you off in the summer, and provides a great opportunity to socialize with family and friends. Make sure you and yours stay safe in the water by being “water-aware” by following these water safety tips:
Learn to swim. Never leave children unattended. Read all posted signs. Never swim alone or in unsupervised places. Weak or non-swimmers should wear a life jacket, and avoid water wings. Look for lifeguards. Don't drink alcohol. Never chew gum while swimming. Check the water depth. Don't get too tired, too cold, too far from safety, exposed to too much sun or experience too much strenuous activity. Note the weather. Use sunscreen. Don't take risks. Keep toddlers in shallow play areas.
There are nearly 500 deaths per year from drowning in Florida. The months that rank the highest are during the summer when the urge to be near or in the water is at its highest. The City of Lakeland Aquatics Division wants you to sign your kids up for lessons today and if you don't know how to swim, sign yourself up too!