MADISON (WKOW)—The American Red Cross has launched a new campaign to reduce drowning nationwide. Local swim schools are doing their part to help out.
SwimWest in Madison and Fitchburg is one of the schools offering swimming lessons for adults. This year alone, the number of adults enrolled in those classes have nearly doubled. They are teaching adults the 5 essential surviving tips if ever in a drowning situation.
They say it is important to be able to:
1. Jump into the water and go over your head
2. Tread water for one minute
3. Make your way to the edge of the pool
4. Get out of the pool without a ladder
5. Swim 25 yards safely and securely
Karen Kittelson, owner and director at SwimWest, told us 80 percent of victims who drown in natural bodies of water are adult males and commonly fisherman.
“They are just going fishing, just sitting on a pier or a bridge. It doesn’t matter. It happens so fast,” Kittelson said.
She said, often times, fisherman get too close to dams and tip their boats. If that happens, don’t let go of the boat. Staying with your boat is the best way to stay safe.
Kittelson said her dad was a victim of an adult drowning.
"My dad was a great swimmer. A really good swimmer but that day it wasn't good enough."
She said that has greatly impacted her decision to dedicate her life to saving lives by teaching people how to swim.
Whether you decide you want to be in the water with kids or just want to feel safe in a boat, Kittelson said making the decision to learn to swim is the first step and the hardest part. She reminds her students learning to swim is a process and doesn’t happen overnight.