HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. — The Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA and the Florida Blue Foundation are teaming up to offer free swim lessons to children from March 18 to 21 to coincide with Spring Break for Hillsborough County and Pasco County public schools.
The free Safety Around Water Program is a four-day course for children ages 3 to 12, taught by certified instructors who teach children skills to give them confidence in and around water and reduce the risk of drowning. Each class is 40-minutes-long. Not only will the program be offered during Spring Break, there will also be free lessons offered in Hillsborough County in May and August to take advantage of this deal.
ABC Action News looked into the number of drownings deaths in Hillsborough County and found that deaths more than tripled in just one year.
According to DCF, there were 11 deaths in 2018 and 3 in 2017.
Hillsborough County is also aware of the alarming numbers.
A spokesperson for the county sent us a statement by email:
In an effort to reduce the number of childhood drownings, Hillsborough County this year decided to increase the number of Head Start children receiving swimming lessons. On March 6, the Board of County Commissioners voted to spend $50,000 toward that effort. The money means an additional 500 Head Start children will receive swim lessons this year. The plan is to make sure every Head Start child receives swim lessons next year.
Classes will be held Monday, March 18 to Thursday, March 21 and times vary based on the YMCA location.
A YMCA membership is NOT required; however, you have to pre-register due to limited space. Children must be present on the first day of class and bring their own swimsuit and towel.
To register your Preschooler, 3 to 5 years, click here.
To register your School Age child, 6 to 12 years, click here.
The next time free lessons will be offered in Hillsborough County will be May 28 to May 31 and again August 5 to August 8 and registration will open approximately a month in advance.
YMCA of the Suncoast
is also offering Safety Around Water lessons at other Tampa Bay Area locations.
- CITRUS MEMORIAL HEALTH FOUNDATION YMCA: April 22-26, June 3-7, Aug 5-9
- HERNANDO COUNTY YMCA: MARCH 18-22, JULY 29-AUG 2
- JAMES P. GILLS FAMILY YMCA: MARCH 18-21, JUNE 3-6, JULY 1-5, AUG 19-22
- CLEARWATER YMCA: EVERY FRIDAY IN MAY, JUNE 24-29