Swim instructor teaching a school age child how to float.

Children learning lifesaving skills in the Tampa Y’s Safety Around Water (SAW) program.

May is National Water Safety Month. At the Tampa YMCA however, Safety Around Water (SAW) is not just a program, or a special month, it is a way of operating, because we believe everyone should learn how to be safe around water.

SAW is a free program for 3-12-year-old beginners and non-swimmers in Tampa Bay. Certified instructors teach children a sequenced set of skills over the course of four days, which reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and around water.

Heidi Blair, Senior Director Aquatics/Camp/Family Programming based at our New Tampa Y notes:

“The Tampa YMCA puts a huge emphasis on water safety. Drowning is the leading unintentional cause of death in children under the age of four and in Hillsborough County we are surrounded by water. Enrolling in formal swim lessons decreases the likelihood of drowning by 88%. At the Y we offer traditional swim lessons year-round plus our Safety Around Water lessons free of charge at certain times so that water safety education is accessible regardless of financial status.”

This year, we served over 400 kids in the Safety Around Water program. Thankfully, the work does not stop there. Our Tampa YMCA Family Centers offer a variety of aquatic programs including swim lessons. Check out more information on all swim programs.


Published: Wednesday, May 17, 2023.