FREEPORT — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranks drowning as the fifth-leading cause of death in the United States.
The YMCA of Southern Maine is hoping to help change this during the month of April, which is Adult Learn-to-Swim month.
According to the CDC’s website, about 10 people die from unintentional drowning every day, two of them children 14 years old and younger. But according to a news release from the YMCA, more than a third of adults in the United States can’t swim 25 yards, the length of a standard swimming pool, putting them at an increased risk of drowning.
From April 17 through May 26, the Casco Bay YMCA at 14 Old South Freeport Road will offer free swim classes for adults 18 years and older with little to no swimming experience. Participants will receive weekly lessons from volunteer instructors who are U.S. Masters Swimmers.
The program, called Swimming Saves Lives, is designed to teach skills that increase safety in and enjoyment of the water.
“Swimming is not only a fun, healthy activity, but an important life skill for all people who live, work, and play around water,” YMCA of Southern Maine CEO, Helen L. Breña, said.
Membership to the Y is not required, as lessons are paid for through a grant by the U.S. Master Swimming charitable arm, the Swimming Saves Lives Foundation. The YMCA of Southern Maine was one of two organizations in Maine to receive a grant from the foundation this year.
“Learning basic water safety skills is a great introduction to swimming, which can lead to a lifelong healthy activity,” Breña said.
Advance registration is required and can be made at www.ymcaofsouthernmaine.org/.
The YMCA of Southern Maine also offers a variety of programs to choose from in addition to the Swimming Saves Lives program, including family swim, swim teams, and group and private lessons.
The Y also runs the Peaks to Portland Swim to Benefit Kids, an open-water race held in Casco Bay each summer, to raise money for their youth development programs, including swim lessons and swim teams.