2012-04-20 / Columnists

New Kid On The Boardwalk

Spring Into Summer With Y Swim Safety
Commentary By Jack Lund, Arverne By The Sea Y


Jack Lund Jack Lund Since our last column, Easter and Passover have come and gone, the clocks have advanced an hour, the thermometer has hit 70 degrees, and construction on the new Rockaways YMCA at Arverne by the Sea has continued apace. The first floor slab has been poured and the foundation walls continue to take shape. Reinforcement bars are being placed and the entire basement area is being waterproofed

Speaking of water, summer is definitely in the air and, for many, the season is synonymous with swimming, water sports, and lazy days spent by the beach, lake, pool, or water park. And historically the Y is the place where thousands of New York City residents got their first taste of the joys of a lifetime of fun spent in and around the water. The Y’s commitment to swimming and water safety extends year-round and is deeply ingrained in our culture and mission. For more than 100 years, local Y’s have been the place where Americans go to find the most trusted swimming instructors and lifeguard training. It’s no accident that the Y is thought of as “America’s Swim Instructor.”

Swimming is an amazing, lowimpact, therapeutic exercise that is one of the best forms of physical activity for people of all ages. The YMCA of Greater New York considers learning how to swim and be safe in and around the water an important survival skill that every New Yorker should know. At Y branches throughout the five boroughs, we teach children and adults of all ages and ability levels not only how to swim, but also about leadership, water safety, rescue skills, and fun water activities that can be enjoyed for a lifetime.

We infuse a message of safety — both in and out of the water — in all of our swimming instruction. The Y offers year-round programs, including 2nd Grade Swim/Swim for Life, to make swim instruction available and affordable for all who desire it. Each April, the YMCA of Greater New York hosts Y Splash Week!, a free program designed to help people of all ages learn basic swimming skills and water practice. In addition to Splash Week!, the Y offers regular aquatics classes taught by trusted in-structors including swim lessons for all ages, water exercise, fitness, water safety, and Masters Swim programs. Y branches throughout the city also conduct regular lifeguard certification courses, training up to 400 lifeguards every year.

While few accidents occur in public pools or on guarded beaches, the YMCA of the USA recently determined that up to 90 percent of children younger than five years old who drown do so in residential swimming pools — with fully half of those deaths occurring in the child’s home pool.

To counteract this danger, the Y offers five simple tips for pool safety:

Always check to make sure rescue equipment is at pool

Always have an adult present who only watches those in the pool when in use.

Avoid distractions while watching the pool. Don’t read a book; take phone calls, or text. Be fully engaged in making sure that everyone in the pool is safe.

Have a phone at the pool in case of an emergency and teach your children and friends pool safety rules.

Take swim and water safety lessons. Make sure that you know how to swim.

Swim safety and a healthy respect for the water is nowhere more important than for those who live in beach and summer resort communities. Apart from fulfilling its mission of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, the Rockaways YMCA at Arverne by the Sea promises to play an especially vital role as a swimming instruction and water safety resource and authority.

When the surf’s up, the Y will be there.

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