Water Safety Resources

national water safety month

Before you grab your bathing suit, make sure you’re prepared with the latest water safety information. The Department of Parks and Recreation will be sharing helpful tips, videos, and more, all throughout the month of May on Social Media!

May 4

Join us in taking the Pool Safely Pledge. You can save a life! Did you know that drowning is the #1 cause of death for children ages 1 - 4 years old? Children not exposed to swimming and water safety are more likely to drown than children who have taken swimming lessons and water safety courses. Learning to swim and practicing water safety can play a vital role in changing these statistics in Prince George’s County! Take the pledge.

May 6

Be water safe! This important, free, online course, from The American Red Cross, will develop your awareness of the risks of drowning and how to minimize the danger. Adults learn drowning prevention, water safety skills, and the chain of drowning survival. Don't miss this opportunity to become confident and safe around water. Register through pgparksdirect.com to take the Water Safety for Parents and Caregivers Course from the American Red Cross.

May 10

Red Cross in the delivery of our Aquatic Programming and Lifesaving Skills Training through the #CentennialCampaign. Launched in 2014, the Centennial Campaign highlights the over 100 years the Red Cross has been teaching swimming safety education. PG Parks is featured in their Aquatics Centennial Campaign video!

May 11

The Department of Parks and Recreation is partnering with the American Red Cross’ Centennial Campaign to help your child learn to swim. Visit pgparks.com/watersafety to find out about our Swim Lesson Incentive program to help your child become Water Competent.

May 12

Our instructors are not just employees, they are a part of our shared community. A few of them would like to share what aquatics and teaching our youth means to them in this Water Safety Instructor video. Want to become a Water Safety Instructor and teach swim lessons? If you can you swim 25 yards of front crawl, back crawl, breaststroke, sidestroke, elementary backstroke, and 15 yards of butterfly, then register for a Water Safety Instructor Pre-Test.

May 14

Do your part, be water smart! Join us at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex for free water safety information during the 12:45 pm and 1:45 pm pool safety break in the Wet Classroom. Parents and kids will participate in an interactive Red Cross WHALE Tales session. Free with pool admission! Not able to attend? Watch the WHALE Tales episodes!

May 15

It’s International Water Safety Day! According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for an estimated 320,000 annual drowning deaths. Learning to swim can save a life!

May 18

Going on vacation to the beach or somewhere near the water this summer? Learn how to be safe in, on, and around the water by signing up for Swim Lessons at pgparksdirect.com

May 22

Preventing a child from entering a pool when you don't expect them to be there or when they are unsupervised is one of the greatest challenges of being around a swimming pool. @Pool Safely shares ways to improve safety and prevent children from drowning, including the use of fence enclosures and self-closing gates that self-latches so children cannot enter the pool unsupervised. Watch a 60-second PSA from Pool Safely in English and Spanish about home pool safety. 

May 25

Wearing a life jacket while on the water can save your life! 77% of boating deaths are due to drowning and 84% of victims are not wearing a lifejacket. Being a good swimmer is not a reason to skip the #lifejacket, as 2/3 of drowning victims are good swimmers! If you do not have a lifejacket available to you, click here for info on the local Lifejacket Loaner Program.

May 30

Save the date for the World’s Largest Swim Lesson on June 23, 2022.

American Red Cross

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation is an American Red Cross Training Provider and proud participant in the Centennial Campaign.

Swim Lesson Incentive Program

Promoting water competency and encouraging long term swimming and water safety through our American Red Cross Centennial Campaign Swim Lesson incentive program that will begin in March. Learners must start the program in Youth Level 1 or Preschool Bobbers.

Youth (ages 6-12 years) Level 1, 2, and 3 Details

  • The goal of the program is to have your learner successfully become water competent by successfully completing youth swim lesson Levels 1, 2, and 3.
  • If you agree during the registration process and your learner successfully completes Youth Level 1 and is registered for Youth Level 2, you may be eligible for a one-time 50% credit of course fees paid to your Parks Direct account for Level 1 course.
  • Credits will not be issued for multiple courses of the same level if a participant must retake the course to successfully complete it.
  • Only the one course that is successfully completed will be eligible for a credit to your Parks Direct account. This program will be extended up to Youth Level 3 as funds allow.

Pre-School (ages 3-5 years) Bobbers, Floater and Strokers 1 & 2 Details

  • The goal of the program is to have your learner successfully become water competent by successfully completing pre-school swim lesson levels Bobbers, Floaters, and Strokers 1 & 2.
  • If you agree during the registration process and your learner successfully completes Bobbers and is registered for the Floaters, you may be eligible for a one-time 50% credit of course fees paid to your Parks Direct account for this course.
  • Credits will not be issued for multiple courses of the same level if a participant must retake the course to successfully complete it.
  • Only the one course that is successfully completed will be eligible for a credit to your Parks Direct account. This program will be extended up to Strokers 2 as funds allow.

Additional Resources

Water Safety 

Drowning is a leading cause of death for children. Together, we can make water safety a priority by using safety protocols.  

  • Even if lifeguards are present, you (or another responsible adult) should stay with your children. 
  • Be a “water watcher” by providing close and constant attention to children you are supervising and by avoiding distractions including cell phones. 
  • Teach children to always ask permission before they go near water. 
  • Children, inexperienced swimmers, and all boaters should wear U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jackets. 
  • Make sure to surround pools and spas with adequate barriers, including four-sided fencing that separates the water from the house. 
  • When at a beach, always swim in a lifeguarded area. 

What Does it Mean to Be Water Competent? 

Water competency is a way of improving water safety for yourself and those around you through avoiding common dangers, developing essential water safety skills to make you safer in and around the water, and knowing how to prevent and respond to drowning emergencies. Water competency has 3 main components: water smarts, swimming skills, and helping others. To find out information about these 3 components visit American Red Cross Water Safety.

Activity and Resources for Parents and Caregivers 


Pool Safely

Logo reading Pool Safely, simple steps save lives in blue and orange lettersThe Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation is a proud partner with Pool Safely. Pool Safely is a national public education campaign from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Parents and families can learn crucial water safety steps to follow in public and residential pools and spas. as well as how to best teach children how to be safer in and around the water. Visit Pool Safely for tips and tools on how to keep children safer around water.  

#PledgeItOn

One minute is all you need to take the pledge to make sure your family is safer around water this year. Adult and child versions are available.

Participation is easy:

  1. Take the Pledge (Spanish Version). While you may have previously taken the Pledge, because the Pledge should be taken every year, you should take it again this year. 
  2. Share a message about taking and sharing the Pledge on your social media accounts. 
  3. Tag three friends in that post, challenging them to #PledgeItOn (be sure to use the hashtag!)

STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math)

Banner with STEAM written in colorful letters and chalkboard drawings to the right

M-NCPPC’s Department of Parks and Recreation is taking a leading role to bring out the inner STEAM power in Prince George’s County youth by providing engaging and fun programming that builds confidence and a better understanding in the subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math.

About STEAM

STEAM is an educational approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. The end results are students who take thoughtful risks, engage in experiential learning, persist in problem-solving, embrace collaboration, and work through the creative process. More at the STEAM Festival  

STEAM Water Activities

If you ask a swimmer what he or she likes about swimming, you might get an answer such as “the feeling of gliding effortlessly through the water” or “the sense of weightlessness that comes from being in the water.” Being in the water allows us to experience movement in ways that are not possible on solid ground. For example, on dry land, gravity is a force that pulls us down toward the Earth, whereas in water, buoyancy is a force that lifts us up. These water activities are from the American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor program which demonstrates various hydrodynamic principles such as Archimede’s principle, specific gravity, and Isaac Newton’s second law of motion, the law of inertia, just to name a few. Become a certified American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor through M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation to learn more.

Safety

Safety comes first! Make sure any sort of activity you do in the water is appropriate for the swim level of the participant and there is appropriate supervision.  

Water Safety Tips 

Evaluating Your Natural Buoyancy

  1. Move into a tuck float position. Hold your knees against your chest until your body stops rising or sinking. Recover to a standing position.
    Did your back rise above the surface? If so, you float easily.
  2. Take a large breath of air, hold it and return to the tuck float position. Recover to a standing position.
    Did your back rise above the surface this time? If so, you have some difficulty floating and when floating on your back, you probably float more in a diagonal position than a horizontal one.
  3. Take a large breath of air, return to the tuck float position, then slowly let the air out through your mouth and nose. Recover to a standing position.
    Did your body drift down as you exhaled? If so, you do not float easily and are likely to sink while trying to float motionlessly.
  4. Move into a back float with your arms at your sides. Recover to a standing position.
    Did your body remain mostly horizontal in the water? If so, you float easily.

Changing the Relationship Between Center of Mass and Center of Buoyancy

  1. Float on your back with your arms at your sides.
  2. Move your arms above your head.
  3. Flex your wrists so that your hands (or fingers) are out of the water.
  4. Bend your knees.

What happened? Did making these changes in body position make it easier for you to float in a horizontal position? These changes in position move body tissue with a specific gravity of less than 1 (e.g., fat, air-filled lungs) toward your feet and body tissue with a specific gravity of greater than 1 (e.g., bones, muscle) toward your head, moving the center of mass and the center of buoyancy closer to one another and increasing stability.

Experiencing Lift Propulsion

  1. Stand in shallow water, anywhere from waist- to shoulder-deep.
  2. Bend your elbows with your hands in front, palms facing down. Your elbows should be about 5 to 7 inches from your waist.
  3. Hold your hands about 6 inches beneath the surface. Keep your hands flat with your fingers loosely held together and your arms relaxed.
  4. Rotate your palms between 20 and 50 degrees to press water out and then in. The total distance your hands move is about 12 inches. Although it may look as if your palms are flat and facing the bottom of the pool, they rotate from facing out to in, with almost no time spent facing flat toward the bottom. Keep your upper arms relatively still with a small rotation on each scull. Avoid “locking” your upper arms in place. Maintain a continuous movement, without stopping and starting at the in and out points of each scull.
  5. Keep your hands moving with an even tempo and pressure. When you get good “grab,” you may see a whirlpool develop over your fingers.
  6. Continue to scull and lift your feet off the bottom.
    What happens when you lift your feet off the bottom while making sculling movements with your arms?

Law of Inertia

  1. In a tight circle formation (shallow water), run clockwise for 30 seconds.
  2. Reverse direction and run counterclockwise for 30 seconds.
    Was it difficult to change your direction of travel? The faster the swimmer is moving, the more force is needed to change the direction.

Want to learn more? 

Become a certified American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor.