SWIM TO SURVIVE
All Children Should Learn to Swim
Basic swimming ability is a
fundamental requirement in any
meaningful attempt to eliminate
drowning in Canada. This is what the
Lifesaving Society’s Swim to Survive
campaign is all about. This drowning
prevention program aims to reduce
drownings by 50 per cent within 10
Why Swim to Survive?
• Because drowning is a leading cause of preventable death in Canada.
• Because 60 per cent of Canadian children never take swimming lessons.
• Because swimming is a life skill that all children need to learn – just like fire safety or
• Because all children deserve the chance to learn basic swim survival skills. And
because Swim to Survive makes these skills accessible to all.
• Because swimming is the second most popular activity in Canada among school-age
children between five and 12 years of age. We want to make sure they each have the
basic skills to survive.
• Because swim skills are not innate – they need to be taught.
What is the Swim to Survive standard?
• Swim to Survive defines the minimum swim skills needed to survive an unexpected fall
into deep water. Because most drownings occur close to safety, and most victims had
no intention of going into the water, Swim to Survive focuses on three basic survival
ROLL into deep water – TREAD water for one minute – SWIM 50 metres
Essential skill & rationale Task
Orient yourself at the surface after an unexpected entry. Roll into deep water
A fall into water is disorienting and a threat to normal respiration. (Minimum safe depth for teaching is
2.5 m or 8 ft. 4 in.)
Support yourself at the surface.
Canadian waters are generally cold enough year-round to trigger a
gasping reflex on unexpected immersion. The ability to tread water Tread water for 1 minute
allows you to protect your airway while regaining control of your
Swim to safety.
Lifesaving Society research shows most drownings occur within 3 to
15 metres of safety (dock, shoreline, pool edge). Because your ability Swim 50 metres
may be impaired by cold water, clothing, etc, we use a 50m distance
as a reasonable standard.
Who is Swim to Survive designed for?
• Swim to Survive is aimed at children, especially the 60 per cent who never take swim
lessons. But people of all ages should be able to perform our Swim to Survive
Is it just a new standard for swimming lessons?
• Not at all. Swim to Survive is different from swimming lessons. Swim to Survive
teaches the basics needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water.
• The Society strongly encourages parents to enrol their children in swimming lessons.
Who teaches Swim to Survive?
• Although anybody can teach Swim to Survive, a swimming instructor or lifeguard has
the best training to help develop the skills.
Is the Lifesaving Society charging a fee?
• No. We provide Swim to Survive resources at no charge to our affiliate members due
to the Lifesaving Society’s contribution of $30,000, RBC Foundation’s contribution of
$20,000 and BC Transmission Corporation’s contribution of $5,000. Additional
sources of funding are currently being pursued.
Isn’t it better to be a strong swimmer?
• Yes. Swim to Survive deals with the basics, it’s not a replacement for swimming
lessons. Everyone should learn to swim.
Want to Learn More?
Please contact the Lifesaving Society at 604.299.5450, email firstname.lastname@example.org or
go to our website at www.lifesaving.bc.ca Help us make Swim to Survive a part of your school’s
BC & Yukon Branch
#112-3989 Henning Drive Burnaby, BC V5C 6N5
Telephone 604.299.5450 Fax: 604.299.5795