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What is Swim to Survive?

Swim to Survive is a Lifesaving Society survival training program. The Society defines the minimum skills needed by all Canadians to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. These are expressed in a skill sequence in the Canadian Swim to Survive Standard:

ROLL into deep water - TREAD water (1 min.) - SWIM 50 m

Swim to Survive is aimed primarily at children, but people of all ages should be able to perform the Society's Swim to Survive Standard.

Three Classroom Activities

The Lifesaving Society has prepared three classroom activities to assist teachers & instructors:
Swim with a Buddy - Check the Ice - Wear a PFD.

Why Swim to Survive?

Basic swimming ability is a fundamental requirement in any meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada.

  • The Society believes swimming is a life skill that all children need to learn. It's no different than fire safety or street-proofing.
  • The Society estimates about half of Canadian children never take traditional swimming lessons – even though “swimming” is the second most popular activity (after bicycling) in Canada among school-age children between five and 12 years of age. The Lifesaving Society wants to ensure every child has the basic skills to survive.
  • Swim skills are not innate – they need to be taught – and all children deserve the chance to learn.
  • Our research shows that most drownings occur close to safety. If every child in Canada could pass our Swim to Survive standard, we would reduce the number of drownings by half.

Isn't it just swimming lessons?

No. Swim to Survive is different than swimming lessons – and not a replacement for them. Swim to Survive teaches just the essentials needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water – an important first step to being safe around water.

The Lifesaving Society strongly encourages parents to enrol their children in swimming lessons.

For more information please click on this: YouTube Swim to Survive Video

Teacher Resources
Teaching package
Maritimes Drowning Report
Classroom Session Powerpoint

Swim to Survive Feedback
Teacher Survey
Student Survey