The Kimberley Aquatic Centre is joining the province of BC and the rest of Canada in hosting the Swim to Survive Challenge for the month of June, to bring awareness to the skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water.
The challenge kicked off this week with the Kimberley Swim Club receiving the first lesson from Life Guard and Instructor Haley Farquhar.
Farquhar says that the program provides the basis for swim survival training.
“Participants learn a variety of activities, from basic swimming techniques and treading water to supporting their head above water and learning how to survive a roll into water, for example, from a boat,” Farquhar explained.
Everyone who participates will learn to tread water for one minute, as well as comfortably swim 50 metres. They will also receive a certificate of completion, with a life jacket that is posted to the Aquatic Centre’s wall.
“Our goal by the end of June is to have 1,000 people go through the challenge, to bring awareness to the deaths caused by water-related incidents,” Farquar explained, adding that drowning is one of the five leading causes of deaths in the summer in Canada.
“We want to give people the ability to practice these skills at the pool here in Kimberley. There is no specific technique required; we want to teach people to be able to get to shore safely. The key is to be able to slow down, control breathing and protect the airway. In Canada especially, the water is so cold that it makes it hard to breathe. Most drowning incidents take place within 50 metres of shore.”
Farquhar adds that the Swim to Survive program is not a substitute for swimming lessons, but rather an additional lesson that defines the skills needed to survive an unexpected fall or incident in deep water.
The cost of the program is $5 for a one hour lesson, the cost includes one adult for children ages 7 and under.
The program dates are as follows:
June 8, 15, 22 and 29 (Saturdays), ages four to seven (adults also welcome), from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m..
June 8, 15, 22 and 29 (Saturdays), ages 7 years and up, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m..
June 3, 10, 17 and 24 (Mondays), ages 4 to 7 (adults also welcome), from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m..
June 6, 13, 20 and 27 (Thursdays), ages 7 years and up, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m..
Lessons must have a maximum of two participants to run. For more information or to sign up, contact the Kimberley Aquatic Centre at 250.427.2983 or visit kimberley.ca.