Sink or Swim Offers Swimming Lessons

Spirits are high at SOS Sink or Swim as it embarks upon its tenth summer of providing free, no-questions-asked swimming lessons to children and some adults in Talbot County.

The Chesapeake Bay region is a hot spot for water-related activities. The Bay offers more than 3,000 miles of coastline, 600 of which are in Talbot County. During the warm weather months, locals spend much of their time in and around the water, whether boating, participating in water sports, or relaxing by the pool.

According to the CDC, drowning is a leading cause of death for children, with ages 1-4 at greatest risk. A Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine report determined that formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%.

Since SOS Sink or Swim’s founding in 2014, the organization has provided nearly 8,000 life-saving swimming lessons to local children.

“Swimming is an essential life skill for all ages, and it is critical for all children on the Eastern Shore to know how to swim and be safe in the water,” says SOS Sink or Swim President Libby Moose.

SOS Sink or Swim offers three sessions of swimming lessons, each lasting for two weeks, at the George Murphy Pool in Easton and the Bay Hundred Pool in St. Michaels. This year’s session start dates are June 17, July 8, and July 22. All children from age 18 months to 18 years are eligible to register for lessons.

The program is administered by Talbot County Parks & Recreation, which also provides trained instructors and lifeguards at each pool. Lessons are tailored to age groups and skill levels. As children learn and master various swimming skills, they move into stroke development. SOS Sink or Swim also offers junior lifeguard training to older children.

SOS Sink or Swim’s partnerships with other local nonprofit organizations, such as BAAM (Building African American Minds) and Critchlow Adkins Children Centers, ensure that the children they serve have access to this life-saving service.

For Moose, looking back on the program’s growth over ten years is incredibly gratifying.

“We are so proud to have been providing this service for ten years now,” Moose says. “Each year, our generous community steps up to make these swimming lessons possible, and each year, we watch as children learn these crucial life skills. We look forward to many more years of teaching our children to save their own lives.”

Registration remains open for the 2024 swim season. Those wishing to register can visit sossinkorswim.org/register. These free lessons are made possible by charitable donations. A gift of just $50 can provide two weeks of lessons for a local child. To learn more or donate, visit sossinkorswim.org.

SOS Sink or Swim is docked at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, a 501(c)(3) organization.

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