TRURO - More than 500 Grade 3 students from Colchester County will learn deep-water survival skills by the end of the school year.
The Lifesaving Society is partnering up with the Rath Eastlink Community Centre and Wilsons Aquatic Centre to offer the program, called Swim to Survive. The program teaches Grade 3 students the skills needed in an unexpected fall into deep water.
It focuses on three skills over the course of three sessions - rolling into deep water, treading water for one minute and swimming 50 metres.
"Not every child gets to take swimming lessons, so it allows a large number of students to come to a pool and gain skills," said Suzanne Hicks-McCully, aquatics manager, in a press release. "I definitely see progress over the three sessions. The children become much more confident in the water."
Swim to Survive is funded through the province's Department of Health and Wellness and the Thrive! Program. Every school in the province has been invited to participate in Swim to Survive this year, meaning more than 5,800 children have the opportunity to take the program.
Mike Melenchuck, volunteer president of the Lifesaving Society, said the program is of essence because most people who get in trouble in the water had no intention of getting wet.
"Swim to Survive teaches children how to survive an unexpected fall into the water, tread water until help arrives and swim short distances," he said in the release. "We are not interested in fancy strokes. It's all about survival."