Swim to Survive®

Swim to Survive® is different than swimming lessons - and not a replacement for them. Swim to Survive® teaches the necessary skills to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. Meeting the Canadian Swim to Survive® Standard is an important first step to being safe around water.

Basic swimming ability is a requirement of any meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada. Swim to Survive® defines the minimum swim skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep water. Because most drownings occur close to safety and most victims had no intention of going into the water, Swim to Survive® focuses on basic survival skills performed as a sequence of three skills:

Swim to Survive Standard

Essential Water Survival Skills Task
Orient oneself at the surface after an unexpected entry Roll into deep water
Support oneself at the surface Tread water for 1 minute
Swim to safety Swim 50 metres

Swim to Survive® can meet even the tightest time frames and budgets. Use Swim to Survive® for:

  • Basic survival training for every family member;
  • Meeting educational curriculum requirements;
  • Workplace safety training;
  • Youth group recreational and training needs;
  • Screening for outdoor activities such as canoeing and boating; and
  • Programming at your community pool.

Dr. Stephen Beerman, President of the International Life Saving Federation (ILS) encourages community groups to provide Swim to Survive skills to all children.

ILS research findings from around the world offer clear evidence that teaching the survival swimming skills taught in Swim to Survive decreases drowning, reducing the mortality and morbidity from aquatic disasters by 50%.

Swim to Survive - Advocacy Letter

Read Dr. Beerman's full letter of support

Read the Lifesaving Society Targeted Communique

Bring Swim to Survive® to your Community

Swim to Survive® is as easy as 1-2-3. Anybody can learn and anyone from a school, camp, community organization or aquatic facility can teach the program. The program can be delivered at a community waterfront or pool. All Canadians deserve the chance to learn basic swim and survival skills. No specialized certification is required to deliver this program. Candidate recognition materials are available such as a Swim to Survive certificate, posters, wristbands and stickers. Please check out the Public Service Announcement and Swim to Survive videos posted on the Lifesaving Society Ontario Branch YouTube Channel. For more information on how to bring the Swim to Survive® program to your community please contact the Society.

In January of 2016 the Lifesaving Society started a year of celebration for 125 years of drowning prevention in the Commonwealth.  A 125th service certificate was created to recognize those that contribute to a legacy of removing barriers in providing survival swimming to everyone in the Commonwealth in 2016.  Please contact the Lifesaving Society if you would like to bring Swim to Survive to your community.

Bring Swim to Survive® to your School

The Swim to Survive® program is a simple and affordable way for schools to give students a meaningful swimming experience where no child is left out. Swim to Survive® is taught in a way that creates a desire to participate, starting these children into a lifetime of fitness and good health. 

Swim to Survive keeps students engaged, moving and having fun. Inclusion is a key element of the design. No one misses out because of their limited skill level. For some children participating in Swim to Survive will be their first step to being safe around water. If every child in Alberta and the Northwest Territories knew how to Swim to Survive® we could reduce the number of drownings by half.

For more information:

Swim to Survive® Resources

The Swim to Survive® Program offers a variety of support materials including stickers, certificates, wristbands, and an Activity Guide.

To order the support materials please visit our SHOP.

The Swim to Survive Activity Guide provides you with the information to facilitate the Swim to Survive® experience. It includes everything you need to teach Swim to Survive® at a pool or waterfront to all ages. The Guide includes: Swim to Survive® messages, teaching concepts, and lesson plans for Swim to Survive® Activities for delivering the program to participants.