The Florida Department of Health says the state has the highest number of drowning related deaths for children under 5. With the summer season here, it is a great time to take advantage of classes offered in swimming safety. Details in this Problem Solver report.
At an early age, Wil Spivey says he fell in love with the water. And that love of water probably had lot to do with his current position.
Spivey is Director of the Aquatic Center at Frank Brown Park in Panama City Beach. He says it is important to know how to enjoy going into the water…safely. Spivey says, "it is very important...critical…to teach a child how to swim and if you are an adult…it is not too late either."
Spivey says drowning is the second leading cause of death for children ages one through five. And it is not confined to swimming pools here in the Panhandle.
The Gulf presents its own challenges. Spivey says, you may have heard this one before, "Hey, I am only going out to the sand bar up to my knees and you step of the back of the sand bar or current pulls you off of it and all of a sudden it would be very important for you to know how to swim."
Recently, News 13 caught up with Chris Coffey of Panama City at the Aquatic Center. He says swimming lessons for his girls are already paying off. According to Coffey, "It is real helpful with that. Just being in it a couple of days. The amount of what they have learned."
Wil Spivey says the Aquatic Center teaches the Red Cross curriculum for swim safety. There are other classes which include private instructors and infant survival lessons that start as early as six months old and teach a baby to flip up on their back, breathe and yell for help.
So if you need to learn how to swim, safely, now is the time to start. Swimming lessons start at $45. You can call the Aquatic Center at 236-2206 to get more information. Classes are also now being offered at Gulf Coast State College. Call 872-3832 for times and rates there. And, the American Red Cross also has more information on swimming safety at 763-6587.