Swim to Survive: Free drowning prevention program open to 2,000 children and youth

“We’re expanding Swim to Survive this year because it was a complete success last summer when it was offered to almost 600 youth and children,” says Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe.

Swim to Survive
May 30 2017 –

The Vancouver Park Board is expanding its partnership with the Lifesaving Society and Lifeguard Outreach Society to offer three days of Swim to Survive, a drowning prevention program designed especially for young people.

Two-hour Swim to Survive courses are being offered free-of-charge to almost 2,000 youth on:

  • Saturday, June 10 at Second Beach Pool in Stanley Park
  • Sunday, June 11 at New Brighton Pool

Youth aged seven to 18 can register for a course at 9 am, 11:30 am or 2 pm on either day. Courses are also being offered to school groups on Friday, June 9 at Kitsilano Pool.  If they don’t fill up, June 9th will be opened to all youth.

Complete success last year

“We’re expanding Swim to Survive this year because it was a complete success last summer when it was offered to almost 600 youth and children,” says Park Board Chair Michael Wiebe.

“Drowning prevention is particularly important in the summer as I witnessed personally while working as a lifeguard with the Vancouver Park Board. Swim to Survive demonstrates our commitment to equip children with the skills to safely enjoy our pools and beaches.”

For the past five years, the Board has partnered with the Lifesaving Society and approximately 60 schools to offer Swim to Survive to grade three students.

Program teaches essential skills

Swim to Survive is a Lifesaving Society program offered across Canada that provides basic training in three essential skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. Swim to Survive is not a replacement for swimming lessons, but an important key step to being safe around water.

It is estimated that half of Canadian children never take formal swimming lessons. If every child could pass the Swim to Survive standard, it would reduce the number of drownings by half.

42 drownings last year

Last year in BC, preliminary statics indicate there were 42 drownings. Drowning remains the second leading cause of preventable death in Canada. Swim to Survive teaches water smart behaviours in time for young people to make better choices around water.

To register for the Swim to Survive, visit lifesaving.bc.ca. Spaces fill up quickly so register now to reserve your child’s spot!

Keeping Canadians safe

“The Lifesaving Society is pleased to again partner with the Vancouver Park Board to provide these important lifesaving skills to children and youth. We see a continual decrease in the number of drownings in BC and we know that more Swim to Survive training will help to continue that trend,” said Dale Miller, Executive Director, Lifesaving Society BC & Yukon Branch.

"Only 50 per cent of Canadian will ever receive formal swimming lessons. Swim to Survive will directly or indirectly keep Canadians safe this summer as they enjoy our beautiful lakes, rivers, and ocean,” said Paul Wechselberger, Founder, Lifeguard Outreach Society.

The Lifesaving Society provides programs, products and services designed to prevent drowning, save lives and prevent water-related injury through boating safety training programs and public education. Each year, more than one million Canadians participate in the Society’s programs.

The Lifeguard Outreach Society’s mission is to send lifeguards to remote communities to teach free drowning prevention swimming lessons.

Register for Swim to Survive