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Safety Around Water

As part of the Y’s commitment to reduce drowning rates and keep kids safe in and around the water, the YMCA of Northwest North Carolina provides at no cost swim instruction and water safety to children from under-served communities.


SAW is for all children, but it especially targets minority and underserved populations who are at higher risk for drowning.


  • 60% of drownings occur within 10 feet of safety.
  • 88% of children who drown are under some form of supervision.
  • According to the CDC, drowning is the second most common cause of accidental death among children 5-14.
  • Children of color are at least three times more likely to drown than their counterparts.
  • Drowning is the leading cause of death for children ages 1-4.

Program Overview

By learning sequences of life-saving skills over the course of the program, the risk of drowning is reduced, giving children confidence in and around water. A typical session includes:

  • Exercises to help kids adjust to being in water and learn how to move and swim
  • Instruction in life-saving moves for children who find themselves in water over their heads: “Jump, Push, Turn, Grab” and “Swim, Float, Swim,”
  • Early safety topics, like what to do if you see someone in the water who needs help
  • Fun activities that reinforce skills


Children in low-income areas of our city are generally not exposed to swimming and water safety.

When & Where

The YMCA of Northwest North Carolina operates the Safety Around Water at branches in the following counties: Davie, Forsyth, Iredell, Stokes, Wilkes and Yadkin.

To learn more or apply for a Safety Around Water program for your group, contact your local YMCA Aquatics Department or email Meagan Isaacs or Lucia Morillo at


We are grateful for the support of many area partners and the YMCA of the USA who provide finances and volunteers to ensure that this program can continue to grow in our communities. To learn more about how to support this program, please contact

Our Mission: "Helping all people reach their God-given potential in spirit, mind and body."