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Half Of Americans Can’t Swim According To The American Red Cross


You would think kids would get the chance to learn how to swim.  But sadly, there are people in America who does not know how to swim, and it’s a lot of people according to the American Red Cross.  In fact, did you know that nearly half of people living in America can not swim!  The American Red Cross recently had a survey conducted, and it found that while 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, only 56 percent of the self-described swimmers can perform all five of the basic skills that could save their life in the water.

The five basic skills called “water competency” are jumping or stepping into water over one’s head, returning to the surface to tread water or float for one minute, circling around and identifying an exit, swimming 25 yards to that point, and then exiting the water.  Sadly, the survey found that more than half of all Americans (54 percent) either can’t swim or don’t have all of the basic swimming skills.  Other key survey findings are:

  • About one in three (33 percent) African Americans reports that they can perform all five basic swimming skills, compared to 51 percent of whites. The survey showed that 84 percent of whites and 69 percent of African Americans say they can swim.
  • Just four in ten parents of children ages 4-17 report that their child can perform all five basic swimming skills, yet more than nine in 10 (92 percent) say that their child is likely to participate in water activities this summer.
  • Men are significantly more likely than women to report that they have all five basic swimming skills (57 percent for men compared to 36 percent of women.)

Considering the fact, the survey found that 46% of Americans report that they have had an experience in the water where they were afraid they might drown.  In addition, one in five (19 percent) said they knew someone who had drowned, and 20 percent knew someone who nearly drowned.  This is very troubling news, and did you know this?  According to the CDC, every day, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from unintentional drowning – 20 percent of them are children aged 14 or younger.  In addition, for every child who dies from drowning, another five receive emergency department care for nonfatal submersion injuries.

So, the American Red Cross is launching a national campaign to reduce the drowning rate by 50 percent in 50 cities over the next three to five years.  To mark its 100 years of swimming safety education, the Red Cross is planning to teach 50,000 more people in the 50 selected cities across 19 states how to swim, and is urging people across the country to make sure that they and their families can swim.  Alabama is one of the 19 states the Red Cross will help in the teaching of swim classes.  In the Red Cross statement, director Connie Harvey said, “Adults need to know how to be safe in the water even before they can protect their children and can take a Red Cross swim course for adults.  But just as importantly, parents should learn about water safety and know how to respond to a water emergency.”

So, if you or your family needs to learn the basic skills in swimming, go to:

And to help you get started, here’s a video teaching you some basic swimming moves!

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