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The Hawaii Red Cross will not be having it summer swim program this year. However, they continue to encourage everyone to learn how to swim through various community options, including free swimming lessons through the City & County of Honolulu Parks & Recreation.


Free registration with use of coupon code - Fill out form for coupon code>>>.


The Hawaii Red Cross is celebrating its 50th anniversary of free swimming lessons for keiki and adults at Ala Moana Beach Park. Started in 1964, the Red Cross has taught thousands of Hawaii residents how to swim, especially those who might not otherwise be able to afford it.

"Part of our mission is to save lives," says Coralie Matayoshi, CEO, Hawaii Red Cross, on the purpose of the program. "Hawaii has the second highest drowning rate in the nation so it's really important for everyone to learn how to swim. We are surrounded by water, and anything can happen."

According to the State Department of Health, on average, 238 people nearly drown in Hawaii each year, of which about 54% are residents. In addition, each year, an average of 67 people drown in Hawaii, and half are residents. Statewide, drowning is the 5th leading cause of fatal injuries and nationwide, drowning is the 2nd leading cause of accidental death of children ages 1-14. The best way to prevent these types of tragic incidences is to learn how to swim.

"Some people think that they don't need to know how to swim because they don't go near the water," says Matayoshi. "But sometimes the water comes to you. For example, you can get caught in a flash flood or tsunami water, or a dam or levy could break. Now is the time to make sure you and your loved ones are prepared for those types of situations."

The Red Cross is also celebrating its 100th anniversary of its swim programs. In 1917, Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow developed the Red Cross water safety education program and traveled all across the United States in his quest to "waterproof America." In 1928, he even traveled to Hawaii to teach lifeguarding techniques to beach boys like Duke Kahanamoku. The effectiveness of Commodore's efforts is evidenced in the drop in the drowning death rate in the U. S. from 102 per 100,000 population in 1910, to 3.4 per 100,000 population by 1962.

"Swimming is not innate." says Matayoshi. "It is a skill that must be taught, but once learned, this lifetime skill saves lives."

2014 Summer Swim Program Schedule

Keiki Learn to Swim (Ages 3 to 12)

Adult Learn to Swim (Ages 13+)

Saturdays, June 7, 14, 21, 28

Saturdays, June 7, 14, 21, 28

9:00 to 10:00AM

9:00 to 10:00AM

Ages 3 &4: Parent/Child Aquatics

Level 1 (5+): Introduction to Water Skills

Level 2 (5+): Fundamental Aquatic Skills

Level 2: Fundamentals of Aquatic Skills (includes Non-swimmer, Beginner, Advanced)

Registration. Starting May 1st. The course fee is $40 but for free registration, fill our the form to get the Coupon Code P298HILTS0714. Enrollment is limited, so register early!

Adult volunteers are needed to help with this program. Those interested in volunteering may fill our the form to get the details.

Summer Buddies Program for Teen Volunteers. We are looking for teens volunteers (ages 14-18) to help with our summer swim program; improve your leadership and aquatic skills and get CPR certified!

· Photo #1: Commodore Wilbert E. Longfellow (right center) taught lifeguarding techniques to beach boys like Duke Kahanamoku (left center). Commodore Longfellow founded the Red Cross Water Safety and Lifeguarding program, developed the Learn To Swim Program, and created the National Red Cross Life Saving Corps in 1914. Commodore Longfellow pioneered water safety on his quest to "waterproof America" over the next 33 years. He was successful as the drowning rates were cut in half over this time period. Photo taken in 1928.

· Photo #2: Keiki line up on Ala Moana Beach to participate in Red Cross' first summer swim program in 1964.

· Photo #3: A boy is taught to hold his breath, blow bubbles, and not be afraid of the water.

The Hawaii State Chapter reminds families to follow these safety tips for staying healthy and safe in or around the water this summer:
  • Learn to swim and swim well. One of the best things anyone can do to stay safe in and around the water is learn to swim. No one, including adults should ever swim alone. Adults should practice "reach supervision" which means to be within arm's length of a child in case an emergency occurs.
  • Outfit everyone with the proper gear. Kids -- and even adults -- who are not strong swimmers or who appear to rely on inflatable toys for safety should use U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) whenever they are in or around the water. Everyone, including strong swimmers, should use an approved PFD when boating. When used properly, this lightweight plastic equipment can help save lives.
  • Always keep basic lifesaving equipment by the residential pool and know how to use it. A first aid kit, cordless phone, phone list with emergency contact information, reaching pole and ring buoy with a line attached are recommended. First aid kits should contain plastic face shields, which can help prevent disease transmission. Plastic ring buoys are a good idea; because of their maneuverability even a child can use one if the need arises. In addition, the Red Cross recommends that pools be surrounded on all sides by a fence that is at least four feet high. It should not provide any footholds, which would allow a child to climb over or spacing to climb through. The fence should have self-closing, self-locking gate locks when the pool is not in use.
  • Swim in supervised areas only.
  • Obey "No Diving" signs.
  • Watch out for the "dangerous too's." Take a break at the point of being too tired, too cold, or too far from safety, too much sun, too little hydration, too much strenuous activity.
  • Don't mix alcohol and swimming. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance, and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills and reduces your body's ability to stay warm.
  • Pack a "safety" bag for a day at the beach or lake. Water-proof sunscreen with an SPF 15 or higher, water shoes to keep feet safe from the heat and sharp objects on land, and plenty of water are musts. All containers should be plastic to prevent injuries from breaking glass. Also, a hat and sunglasses keep eyes safe from dangerous UV rays.
  • Pay attention to local weather conditions and forecasts. Stop swimming at the first indication of bad weather.
  • Learn Red Cross first aid and CPR. While the above tips can help prevent emergencies, it is important to know what to do if a situation arises. And all caregivers, including grandparents, older siblings and babysitters should have these lifesaving skills.

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