Survey: 54% of people can't swim well enough to save their own life

In a study released Tuesday afternoon, the American Red Cross found while 80% of Americans say they can swim only 56% of them can actually perform all five of the basic skills that might help save their life in the water.

The basic skills include the ability to:
 

  • Step or jump into water over your head
  • Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute
  • Turn around in a full circle and find an exit
  • Swim 25 yards to the exit
  • Exit from the water. If in a pool exit without using the ladder

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU)- If you found yourself in deep water could you save your own life? It’s a question the American Red Cross asked people. What they found might surprise you.

In a study released Tuesday afternoon, the American Red Cross found while 80% of Americans say they can swim only 56% of them can actually perform all five of the basic skills that might help save their life in the water.

The basic skills include the ability to:

Step or jump into water over your head
Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute
Turn around in a full circle and find an exit
Swim 25 yards to the exit
Exit from the water. If in a pool exit without using the ladder

As the weather starts to warm up, Emmalee Morse with the Eau Claire Parks and Recreation Department is gearing up for a summer filled with swim lessons.

“Living in a community so close to water knowing how to swim knowing where to swim and making the right decisions around the water are skills that kids and adults should know,” Morse said.

Morse says the Red Cross basic swim skills are taught at swim lessons offered throughout the year and are vital to making sure young swimmers stay safe this summer.

But it’s not just kids that are learning the basic skills. Indoors at the YMCA pool instructors say over the last few years they've seen a trend with more adults coming into learn how to swim.

“We see about 25 adults per year which is fairly high amongst the national standard,” YMCA Aquatics Director Becky Adamski said.

“When teaching adults to swim we use a lot more equipment and they are more independent its more step by step so they can get used to the water in their own way,” YMCA swim instructor Quinn Mosher said.

No matter what stage in life both the YMCA and the Eau Claire Parks and Recreation Department say it’s never too late to pick up swimming skills that could save your life.

“It comes in handy even when you don't think it does,” Mosher added.

Both the Eau Claire YMCA and the Parks and Recreation Department say they have spots available for their summer swim lessons.

You can find links for more information on those lessons on the right-hand side of this screen.


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