I recently spent an afternoon at a neighborhood pool overseen by a teenaged lifeguard. “Overseen” might be too strong a word, however, since the young woman spent most of her time glued to her cellphone. Although I can’t know for sure, my guess is she thought she didn’t need to watch the water because she would easily hear any swimmers in distress.
If that’s the case, she couldn’t have been more wrong.
According to the experts, real drowning looks nothing like movie drowning. Victims don’t flail their arms, and they don’t scream for help. Instead, they struggle to keep their heads above water until someone comes to their rescue or until it’s too late. Far from being dramatic, real drowning is subtle, quiet, and quick. For proof, see this amazing video or check out this American Red Cross fact sheet.
If your troop will be swimming this summer–and what troop won’t be?–it’s imperative that you and other leaders complete Safe Swim Defense training. (You can take the training online at my.scouting.org.) Among many other things, you’ll learn how having qualified supervision and lookouts can help keep your Scouts safe–regardless of what the lifeguard on duty is doing.