World Drowning Prevention Day: Lifesaving skills that can prevent drowning incidents

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Tuesday, July 25, is World Drowning Prevention Day.

The day highlights the long-term effects drowning has on families and serves as a reminder to stay safe in the water this summer.

Did you know a person can drown in less than 60 seconds? News4JAX spoke with the owner of Swimming Safari Swim School about lifesaving skills that everyone can learn to prevent drownings.

July saw the highest number of unintentional drownings since 2018, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Recently in Jacksonville, a two-year girl drowned in a pool in the backyard of a home on Quan Drive on the Westside.

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“It just hurts me so much and it’s preventable, it’s preventable,” Joani Maskell, the owner of Swimming Safari Swim School, said.

Maskell is passionate about saving lives through drowning prevention. That’s why she opened the Swimming Safari Swim School on Hodges Blvd where she teaches children — as young as four-months-old — and adults lifesaving skills in the water.

“Every lesson we have them jump in with or sometimes without goggles because you never know if you’re going to be in a situation where you don’t have goggles, or you’ll fall into a lake,” Maskell said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared July 25 World Drowning Prevention Day. Maskell said it’s a good rule of thumb for all swimmers to never swim alone.

“I never swim by myself even though I’m a good swimmer and my instructors don’t either. We always have to swim with somebody else you never know what could happen out in that ocean or that lake.”

The CDC also recommends these moves to prevent drowning incidents:

  • Wear a life jacket
  • Learn CPR
  • Build fences around the pool
  • Know the risks of natural waters

Each one can potentially save a life. It is also important to remember that children are at highest risk of drowning.

Maskell has parents wear badges that put an adult in charge of watching the child while swimming. She said this is important because drowning is silent, and adults don’t always notice.

About the Author:

This native of the Big Apple joined the News4Jax team in July 2021.