We’ve all seen the movies and television shows that feature a scene with drowning—there is typically a lot of yelling, lots of splashing over a long period of time while onlookers attempt understand what is happening and then perform a rescue.
Unfortunately, Hollywood has taught us to look for the wrong things when it comes to water safety. Drowning is by and large silent—a person struggling for air cannot scream, and more likely you’ll see a person bobbing slightly up and down in the water with little to splashing.
This is why Water Watchers are so important!
It’s best to swim where lifeguards are present and actively watching the water, but certain situations—for example a home pool—you may be without a lifeguard. When that happens, the Y wants you to assign a Water Watcher.
A Water Watcher is an adult assigned to monitor the water. While there may be other adults present who are also present, this person’s role is to stay completely undistracted and monitor the water. This means no phones, no books, no conversation and no quick runs to the cooler for water or a snack!
This job can be taxing, so the Y suggests adults take turns as Water Watcher every 15-20 minutes.
You can download our free Water Watcher tag here. Passing the tag to each adult helps remind adults that they’re “on duty” and reminds other adults not to distract the Water Watcher until their turn is over.
To learn more about the Y’s swimming lessons and Safety Around Water program visit ymcaokc.org/programs.