Red Cross: More Than Half Of All Americans Can't Swim

May 25, 2014

Summer is here and a lot of Arizonans will be going to the water. According to a new national survey from the American Red Cross, eight out of 10 Americans are planning water activities such as going to the beach, pool, water parks, or boating or fishing this summer.

The same water safety survey from the American Red Cross shows more than half of all Americans cannot swim. Only 56 percent of self-described swimmers can perform five basic swim safety skills. defined as 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; and exit from the water. If in a pool, you must be able to exit without using the ladder.”

The secretary for the Drowning Prevention Center Coalition of Arizona, Tracey Fejt, says drowning deaths in Arizona are the highest they have been in 12 years.

“This year the drownings have been crazy, so far we have had a total of 18,” said Fejt.

“We always lose twice as many adults as we do kids every single year in Arizona. So many adults think they can swim but they really can’t, and then they are alone and there is no one there to save them,” she said.   

So the best advice Fejt says she can gives is to never swim alone. She adds that adults need to wear life jackets and encourages swim lessons for adults and children. For more information on swimming safety visit preventdrowning.org.