Swimming instructors stress importance of water safety amid lifeguard shortage
Swimming instructors are raising the alarm after the City Parks Department canceled its swimming lessons this summer due to a lifeguard shortage.
The announcement comes after a string of drownings in the tri-state area, including two 13-year-old boys in Queens last Friday.
The Product Safety Commission says drownings of children under 15 are still high. And non-fatal drownings have increased by 17% in 2021.
Despite the staffing shortage, Imagine Swimming in Crown Heights stresses the importance of safety around water.
"We have our students every now and then come to class with a set of street clothes so they can learn how to, what it feels like if they fall in a pool or any body of water when they're not prepared to swim," says Imagine Swimming Chief Aquatics Officer Brendan O'Melveny.
O'Melveny also says that parents should be hypervigilant around the water.
"It's also important to learn CPR, so if the unthinkable does happen, you know how to respond," he says.
O'Melveny also hopes the community will step in to end the lifeguard shortage.
Imagine Swimming offers classes at various locations across the city. They say that no matter how skilled your kids are at swimming, they should always be supervised in and around the water.