Our 100 Years
For the past 100 years, we’ve been helping millions of kids, teens and adults learn how to swim and become lifeguards and instructors. So the water can be a safer place for everyone.
The American Red Cross created the first national water safety program in the U.S. – and today it’s still the gold standard for aquatics training. All of that training is making a difference. In the last century, we’ve helped to reduce accidental drownings by nearly 90% nationwide.
Join us as we champion water safety for the next 100 years. With programs based on the latest science, and new ways to learn in the water and online, you’ll be ready to get your feet wet.
Helping To Save Lives: The Centennial Campaign
To mark our century of swimming safety education, the Red Cross is planning to teach 50,000 more people in 50 selected cities across 19 states how to swim, and is urging people across the country to make sure that they and their families can swim.
- The selected cities were chosen due to their high number of fatal drownings or overall drowning rates – some higher than the national average.
- Making a positive impact by connecting with communities to cut those rates in half – by helping kids, teens and adults be safe in the water is why the Centennial Campaign is so important.
The Red Cross and its partners train about two million people a year in swimming. The Campaign is a multi-year action that will increase our impact by 50,000 and hopefully inspire many more people to sign up for swimming and water safety lessons at local facilities.
The Campaign comes at a time when a new national survey* shows that people believe they are better swimmers than they actually are. The survey, conducted for the Red Cross, found that while 80 percent of Americans said they could swim, only 56 percent of the self-described swimmers can perform all five of the basic skills that might help to save their life in the water.
These critical water safety skills, also known as “water competency,” are the ability to:
- Step or jump into the water over your head.
- Return to the surface and float or tread water for one minute.
- Turn around in a full circle and find an exit.
- Swim 25 yards to the exit.
- Exit from the water. If in a pool, be able to exit without using the ladder.
The Centennial Campaign begins as summer gets underway, and eight out of 10 Americans are planning water activities such as going to the beach, pool, water park, or boating or fishing this summer. Let’s all make water safety a priority. Make sure both adults and children can swim and be safe in the water.
*The national public opinion survey was conducted for the Red Cross April 17-20, 2014 using ORC International’s Online CARAVAN omnibus survey.