Debbie Marrs-Sayers - Dolfun Swim Academy

Episode 6: Drowning Prevention - Dolfun Swim Academy

Welcome to our next episode in our drowning prevention series. For this episode, we go south of the border to our friends, Stacy and Debbie at the Dolfun Swim School in Portland Oregon. Stacy, and Debbie are going to talk to us about safe water behaviors, their recommendations and things for things to pay attention to in their area.


And talk to us a little bit about that, their school, what they do and what their philosophy is. We welcome the ladies. 






Below you will find an unedited transcript of our conversation. You can find the Youtube link next to the text or by clicking here

All right, and official. Good morning to you both. How's the weather down in Portland. Uh, a little sunny today, but it's supposed to just start raining again, which will be really good because, uh, we're looking at a drought this year.


So, and I say, son always bring the sun on.


Thank goodness. We have lots of water around us, but yeah, they're already talking. It's only may, they're already talking, like we need more rain and we're like, oh boy. Most of the time, we'll say that, but we're like, um, over five inches behind and our annual rain amount, that's spring green on with the last year we've had, what else do you expect?


Well, you know, like, you know, on the west coast, especially, you know, like if you don't get that rain, that leads to a pretty bad forest fire season down later on in the year. So it's careful, you know, Balancing, you know, like nature, mother nature is always looking after, right? So we had a rough fire season last year.


So hopefully we get lots of rain, the waterways dangerous right now. So this weekend coming up is our Memorial weekend and for the United States and the, you know, they're, they're, they're really talking about that water danger, you know, boating and all the rivers and lakes and everything for people to be aware that there's not as much water.


You know, and that makes it the current faster. It makes a lot of things more dangerous in the water. So it's a great month for us to be, um, you know, we focus on that water safety for mail. So. Well, it's fantastic. So why don't we just get into it in terms of, um, getting the show started? So, I mean, obviously, uh, the Oregon coast is, you know, one of the most magnificent coasts, um, in the world cannon beach in that area there.


Um, and then. Yeah. And I say that from a tourist point of view, because I'm sure, you know, places that are much more spectacular than cannon beach, but that's pretty fantastic. And we're going to take you to canopy chest our first, you know, exposure. Yeah. Fair enough. Well, it's beautiful place. Um, anyways, so when I, when I started this show, um, started this series.


We started out with a panel discussion talking to some experts about drowning prevention and things to pay attention to in the room. And I had a question. I had a thesis that I wanted to answer, and it was largely based on the activity and what was going on here in Canada. But I'm curious how this may apply in the U S and how, what your thoughts might be on it.


Um, but because the learn to swim industry and community is so effective at what they do, they do such a great job of teaching and getting safe water behavior messaging out and so on and so forth. In Canada, at least at a time like this, when we rely on people, politicians specifically to make decisions about what's essential, what businesses can open, what can't open.


Um, water safety was always something that was never prioritized. And now we're in a situation where. We expect to see the trend of 2020 continue. We've seen that it was looking at the numbers out of Australia earlier today, where they're they're ahead of us, obviously, because of seasons. Um, and drownings I've already gone up 38% there.


Um, so the thesis is this. Um, we take water safety for granted. Because of people like you guys that do such a good job of teaching those safe water behaviors every day. And, um, my, my question or my, my intent is to have that either validated or debunked. So my opening question is what do you think are as a culture, as a society?


Do we take this for granted? We're going to Gabby first. Let's let's do it. So curate this. Yeah. So the, the question is do, does our society take this for granted, obviously swim school owners. We're in the business of drowning prevention. That's our goal. Right. Ultimately, and, and we work on having fun while we do that.


Um, but you know, we were very concerned. We got ourselves on the news and everything last year that the lifeguards weren't being trained, they weren't going to guard. Even in Oregon, they took the lifeguards. Off the open water, um, ways that we usually would have lifeguards, um, saying that they didn't have pools to train those guards.


So, you know, our hair was up on the back of our neck, super nervous, and we are interested to see, and we felt like our thesis was and saying to the newscasts. Yes. You know, we're going to see a higher level of drownings. Because we aren't having this prevention happened and, or protection. So predict pension protection, all the layers that we need for the drowning prevention arena.


And so I'll be interested to see what those statistics are. We have a very difficult time pulling those statistics out. We are able to go to a couple of different counties at a time or municipalities and grab those incident reports, but it's not comprehensive. So that's the sad part. So we don't know. Um, what has and or has been caused for about we're going to be two years behind knowing if the drowning rates actually went up.


Yeah. And that was mentioned in our panel discussion that, you know, the data is a problem because of the times of process and said it has to, you know, you're basically looking at coroner's reports, which take time to go through the court system and so on and so forth. Right. So Stacy, your thoughts. Um, so I actually saw a new news podcast or a news broadcast the a day ago that was talking about the drowning rates and that they did go up last year.


Um, so they had, um, some, someone from Multnomah county on, and there was a significant increase about 30% of drowning rates in our area. Um, And it breaks our heart to see that because we're in this business to help keep people safe and get that message out there. And we couldn't for a year. Yeah, fair enough.


And I mean, I guess, um, you know, in terms of, uh, you know, the stats, I mean like, uh, often, um, and you know, I, one point I was part of this demographic, but it seems to be, you know, males between 18 and 30 seem to be the highest culprit of drowning. Cause you know, We're not necessarily the smartest at that time in our lives.


Right. I liked that you actually widened, usually it's like 14 to 18, but you allocated 30


to get, you know, There you go. But I mean, at the end of the day, I mean, like out of the series, we've got, you know, several really potent nuggets about drowning prevention, you know, like drowning a silent happens in 30 seconds or less so on and so forth, things like that. So, I mean, these, these are the things that.


The public is not aware of. And you know, and this is, you know, like even myself, who's, you know, I was a swimmer for 10 years. I was a coach for 20 years and took my kid to the pool for swimming lessons. And, you know, she slept on the deck, went right in the pool. Nobody heard her and. The fact that, you know, you say the words drowning, a silent become ever more real.


And I was like, wow. Like, I didn't think I would turn around for one second and she'd be gone underwater. Right. So, um, anyways, so to that point, uh, you have several bodies open bodies of open water. Pools and so on and so forth. Um, what are you doing? What are you communicating out to your membership in terms of, uh, the behaviors, things to pay attention to, uh, from a water safety point of view?


Um, we'll go to Stacy first and then come back to Debbie. Uh, well, this month we did our water safety month focus and, uh, It was a lot of talking about safe water practices, how to be around open water, making sure that you're wearing life jackets as teaching all the parents, how to have a proper fit on their life jackets.


Cause some of them brought in their own life jackets. For us to look at and they were wearing life jackets that were too big for their kids or too small for their kids, or just not fitting well to make the life jacket effective. Uh, we are also talking about, uh, reach or throw and don't go. So teaching the kids to reach for somebody, if they are safe online on laying down on their bellies, throwing a life ring for somebody and yelling for help for an adult, because a lot of kids get into themselves into trouble because they.


Go, oh, I can swim. And then they want to go in and help somebody who is having trouble in the water. So that focus yesterday and this week, actually this whole week and the kids are having a lot of fun with it. And I'm getting a lot of parents who go, oh, I didn't know that. So it's really educating our parents as well.


Fair enough. And over to you. Yeah. So I think we have the fortune of our parents being on deck with us and there's always different pros and cons about that. But the good thing is that they can hear every word that we're talking to these kids about. And what we know is it's a triangle relationship. We have to educate the parent as well as the behavior of the child.


Um, and let the parent know where where's the boundaries that your child does or does not have. The one thing I thought was a great, uh, incident that just happened this week. Stacy, do you want us to tell us about the little boy that went swimming in the Sandy river? Oh, yes. Well guy, or if he's a bigger guy, I dunno.


Um, he went swimming in the Sandy river and, uh, which is one of our swimming holes around here. A lot of people go and swim in it, but a lot of people swim in that river without a life jacket. And he did. And so he came and he was telling me about how he went and swam in the Sandy river. And I asked it was the week after we did life jackets.


So I am asking him like, okay, so did you wear your life jacket? And he's like, no, there are like a hundred people around me. I didn't need to wear a life jacket. Like, no, you always have to wear that life jacket in the water. If you're an open water, you don't know what's there. So you have to wear a life jacket to keep yourself the safest.


Yeah, that lesson to learn for the parents to hear. And she was able to like reinforced to the parent. They need, they got to have a life jacket on. It's a really dangerous area. We have a lot of drownings on this particular river in that particular area. It's relatively shallow water. Um, so it seems, but you know what that means.


It means it's shallow and then drops off hard. So. You know, always kids have a little more confidence than they might know about. And in the pool we don't have current. We don't have rapids. We don't have undertows the ocean, you know, in Oregon has this terrific undertow happening. That's very, you know, we're always talking about.


Don't turn your back to the water. Don't turn your back to the ocean always face. So all those little tips that we're trying to get across and Stacy has done a great job. She's made sure we had printed promotional information going out with all of those tips and safeties safety tips, basically for people to know for the summer.


That's fantastic because as we're saying, you know, the, the education piece is, is what makes you guys stand out and ultimately creates a depth deficit and the understanding by decision makers and legislators as to the importance of this. And so, you know, you need to prioritize this and recently with the, um, announcement from the who, that this is a worldwide issue that everybody needs to pay attention to, um, you know, it makes it even more real.


Right. So, um, thank you for sharing that. So maybe tell me a little bit more about, uh, the dolphin swim academy now. Uh, tell me where did it start? Um, and what are you guys doing? What is your philosophy? Uh, tell me about the kids that come through the school. Let's go to Debbie first. Awesome. Well, thank you.


Uh, I got started back in 1994 taking my own 18 month old child to a swimming lesson because somebody knew somebody that was teaching water babies, which I had never heard of before. And they said, you know, she needs some brochures or some marketing done. And I was a business consultant, marketing, you know, um, background.


I said, yeah, sure. Well, let me go do my research, took my child and I fell in love with the water. My child had. The special needs and the water magically, as we all know, uh, like in lightened and gave us that information about more about what his needs were. And I was, you know, I was one of the, I was her best campaign manager for water babies, and then long story made short.


She ended up leaving the industry. I was still connected with her taking my children there and. Uh, people started asking me, you know, where are we going to go? And I was like, I don't know why they're going over to this school over here. So I called that school and they went there and they came back to me and said, where else are we going to go?


We want to go somewhere else. If you know, it was out of the way. It wasn't where we lived. So long story made short, started my business. Start a swim school. I was a mortgage broker at the time. So it was a different leap for sure. I hired people to run some of my mortgage company for me because I started loving and loving this business.


And six months later, I left my back corporate corporate life and came into the swim business and never looked back. So that's where we've been. We are a child approach, child centered approach, um, methodology, I would say. And, uh, my background also in college, I had studied childhood development. I was going to be a teacher, but then I decided I couldn't make enough money for some reason at that age.


That's what I thought. So I became a fashion merchandiser at that time. So I brought a lot of business of. Approach to the business of swim school. And I think that's how we've also stayed in business over all the years through all the different economies I knew we would make it through this last year also.


You know, it was a hiccup that we needed to figure out. And, um, I just fell in love with the fact that we can be making a difference in people's lives. I mean, people ask, you know, what do you do? And you get to do something that you're passionate about. Well, you know, what's. What's there more to be passionate about than saving children's lives and being preventative, uh, about that and building relationships.


I just love the part of that comes with this in building relationships with families. And so we've really taken more of a approach, like the mind body soul balance that the water brings to us. And we look at, you know, what are the neurological benefits? What are the physical benefits, all of those things, and working on communicating that with parents.


And in 2006, I found if I brought the parents in first and talk to them about what their journey with this, with this program would be with their babies in the water, uh, that they, they are highly educated. All of our clients and customers, they're highly educated people to be in this industry. As you know, we want to serve all the markets, but that is our demographic.


And when they were educated, we had a better experience. We minimize the fear factor, gave them information to make good decisions. And so they would know that we were going to have a four or five-year journey with them and maybe longer. And that we're we're, you know, we may or may not fit. And I am happier than anything just to send them onto another school or location.


That's closer to them that they will go every week. And so I started going out to the hospitals. Somehow or another, I had a connection started going, talking to the parent and meet, um, moms and dads groups. When you're first born, you come back to the hospital, so I'd come back there. And that's where we started.


Building the education I wasn't selling my business. I just wanted to educate the public. And, uh, we've been at 18 different locations over the years in Portland, Oregon with any water that we can find that we can rent and, um, backyards apartments, leasing, renting condos clubs, and, um, and now finally, We're hoping to build our own facility coming up here so that we can have a solid home to serve our country, our counties and our community and the, um, the, the biggest change that we made this last year was changing the.


Um, timing of our classes and what we found is we had to get less children in. So that was heartbreaking when we'd been closed from may, till October, we couldn't get all the kids back in every single child is, you know, a family that we know. And so we had, we moved over to a 20 minute lesson and got three families in per hour into our programming.


And that's been a great asset. Um, to the community and getting the numbers of children in, because again, we feel this a little bit of pressure when summer's coming in our community, right? We're like, oh my gosh, we need to get every single body and every single child. And, you know, we found out that our, our municipalities are not going to be open most of their indoor pools, even this summer.


So super. Upset about that. We can't service all of them. Of course. Um, so we're doing our best to try to get a second location open up as fast as we can so we can get those kids in the water. Yeah, well, I mean, it's, it's absolutely clear. Um, you know, you want to talk to Stacy, uh, you know, like I, I hear like, like the good vibes that come across the phone about your school and what you do and hearing from the founder, you know, hearing that enthusiasm, that passion, all that stuff.


It all makes sense. It all comes together here. So, um, Stacy, I want to, did you want to weigh in on that as well? Uh, so I come with a strong swimming background where I did work for the public pools, um, for seven yeah, seven years. And so coming over to dolphin, um, after all of this swim experience has been, uh, amazing.


And I love that every lesson that we do there is actually a water safety factor in there. Yeah. And that's, uh, one of our biggest things, even when we go out and we do teach classes, like we'll go out and teach a bathtime class. And in the bathtime class, we talk about water safety at home. Right. Your child can drown and one inch of water, it cannot happen.


You know, you have to know what water can do to your, your family. And so when we go and teach, we talk about bathtub safety and how to be safe around bathtubs or backyard little, um, splash pools. And, uh, we just. The development and the knowledge that we try to give to our community is really precious. And I hope that we can expand on it and keep growing and maybe partner with some of those bigger pools, a little bit more to extend their programs and extend their knowledge.


You mentioned the bathtub classes. Was that an adaptation for COVID or was that something that you were doing? That's actually something we've done for a number of time. Uh, and it's 1995, 96. Yeah, baby time. Yeah. And so we, uh, did the actually for a while with babies R us, which closed unfortunately. And they were really great partner to work with as we could really reach a lot of babies and parents would come and we'd talk about like how to, how do you hold the slippery child and make sure that they stay warm and safe and that your.


Using the bathtub time to teach your child to be around water. So, you know, not wiping their face after their face gets wet is very key to teaching them how to be in water, like their face, that's the habit they get. And when they enter a pool or a lake or a river, that is what they try to do. And that means that they can't use their hands to swim, which is a factor in drowning.


So. It starts from just that bathroom. Yeah, we started, we started work here. I started working myself, uh, in the birthing center. So we have a lot of water birthing centers here and I was working with the international birthing center. Um, waterbirth international and they happen to be here out of Wilsonville.


Uh, near Portland, Oregon. And, um, so we would literally go to the birthing center after the birth of the baby and take them back in the bathtub the next day or two right after that. So I couldn't, everybody was asking, can we get in the pool? I'm like, There was nothing in the United States back in 1995 in our area that I could learn or educate myself with.


Um, however, a person named John Bainbridge was a friend with waterbirth international Barbara Harper, and he was in town and he just had his new baby and he was putting the baby in the bathtub. And so he came up and started working with me and I was, you know, Sailing without every sense and found out that, you know, if we can get with the sooner that we can get with those babies and the families, the better and, um, making, you know, making them understand that it's okay, water safe, they just lived in water there, you know, first part of their whole life.


Now they're here on earth with us. So now we're how do we minimize that space? Because it used to be. Swim schools, traditional swim school, private schools. So we start around eight months and I couldn't figure out why we weren't getting them back in the water right away. So our goal was to minimize that gap, um, and the, you know, the, the, the relationship and the bonding.


And what I love is that the dad gets an opportunity to be with the baby at a time that. Mom is with the baby quite a bit during that first age. And this is like a space and time that he gets to have. I mean, I can't believe how many dads are in our classes. Like they, they, they come once and they're like kicking the mom out.


Okay. I got, this is my activity with my baby and they can, you know, have a great time with them. We make sure that our, our, um, there's a lot of play. I think all of us learn better through play. And so we make sure we initiate that in the water too. Even with those little itty bitties. And then, you know, we can start them at eight weeks in the, in the pool.


We're able to keep our water warm enough at that 92 degrees or 33 Celsius right in there. So we're able to. And emphasize that you need warm water to be able to work with those kiddos, but yeah. And it sounds like you're perfectly set up for that. Um, I want to, uh, I want to finish this off just some quick tips from both of you on things to pay attention to around open water on the pool.


But before that, um, you know, I would say from what I've seen based on conversations, whatnot, um, Debbie, you're almost in the authority figure in this space. I know that people, um, bring you into, uh, teach your program. Um, and you consult quite a bit with some schools. And I wonder if you could shed some light on that.


And from the point of view of, um, Why are they bringing you in? Right. And what are they, what are they looking to get from you? Yeah. Thank you. I guess that's what happens when you've been in the business this long, then, you know, I don't know if I'm authority or not, but I am happy to share what ever information I've learned and learned through hard knocks of a few times or so.


Um, I'm just super. You know, I feel so blessed and I'm so great, grateful that I have the opportunity to share with other people. You know, we always have our, our slogan is like one baby at a time, one child at a time, one day we're saving that one life at a time and I get to go and teach other teachers.


You know what knowledge I've learned over time. And so I feel like we're just able to expand that and I do travel around the world and get to do that. Um, you know, why they bring me in is I think that people are looking for that next level of information, a lot of swim schools, uh, start because they know of course.


We need to save lives. Uh, in China, we work in China quite a bit, or I work in China with some clients and drowning prevention is not even on the, on the list. They have learned that child inner child development, they really have a child development approach, a lot of play and fun, which is also excellent, but they do a lot of things that we would see as, um, alarming.


In, you know, because they just don't know. They don't have the, the drowning rates that we're seeing. They do have high drowning rates, but it's not part of their conversation. So I get to bring that piece of the conversation to them and go look that behavior in the pool can be dangerous. Let's let's do it this way.


So I'm just giving them. Additional, um, pieces and pies and benefits and maybe tips and techniques that they wouldn't have otherwise known. And so with, um, you know, with veteran schools, working with schools that have been a long time, we just have a little bit, uh, maybe a different approach. We also have a very strong preschool elementary approach that.


Um, is LinkedIn with the total immersion approach. So we, we work on that approach with, uh, um, and I rewrote we've rewritten all of our lessons, um, to incorporate that information. So some people will come and train with us at our facility. As, uh, to come into our baby program and we definitely have had a strong baby program.


That's where I started. I wasn't a swim teacher. I had note coaching, you know, I, I swam in when I was young on a swim team and on the, but I had no knowledge. So when I taught a three-month old, then I had to learn how to teach a six month old. And so what I did is I watched that child and I saw what worked in the water with them.


And then I. I feel like they were trained teaching me. So it's taken years to get to the point where we have a very comprehensive curriculum. So they're just looking for those extra tips and techniques just to elevate their, um, you know, training and their knowledge and maybe learning more of the why. I think the biggest reason people bring me in is because I.


Uh, talk about the why I talk about the neurological functioning of the brain. How does that work in our whole body? Why do we want to use our core of our body to swim versus our secondary propulsion of legs and arms take those off and what happens? So learning about breath, buoyancy, and balance, and what that looks like.


We know you have to have that. But how do you do that with techniques? So we've got a couple little fun techniques that we've learned over the years. And, um, when people see that they think, well, that's kind of interesting and new. And so I look at people's programs and incorporate what they might take to the next level, um, as an, as an offering to their, to their families or their children in program.


We also, I can also come in and I, you know, I also consult on business development, pool development. Um, staffing development, you know, that type of thing, as far as what people may or may not be operating efficiently, you know, and we had to pivot all this year. I think a lot of people have got the opportunity to learn what am I going to do to keep this business moving?


So that's part of what we help with too. Oh, that's fantastic. I mean, certainly you've seen the resilience here at several people in the industry. Um, that certainly I've been casualties, but for the majority, you know, like you've seen the resiliency in terms of being able to adapt, figure out ways, how do we fit?


What is the new normal going to look like and so on and so forth. Right. So, yeah. Fantastic. So preneur down. You know, fear and entrepreneurial spirit don't even give us a challenge, right? Find a way to find a way actually connected better this whole year and, and help each other. If one person was down, we helped them back up.


You know, everybody pulled each other along and regrouped and became stronger as an industry. Oh, a hundred percent, a hundred percent. It's fantastic to have both of you here. Um, so to, to, to, to wrap this up, you know, we want to stay focused on drowning prevention and the information that the public needs to know, um, so on and so forth.


So in your, your own list, Individually, some, some key things that people need to pay attention to, um, at whether it's out at the lake, uh, on the coast, you know, at the ocean or backyard pools, whatever the case is. And don't worry about being repetitive because of the public needs to hear it. They can hear it twice.


So let's go to Stacy first. Well, the first thing is to teach your child to sit and wait for permission to enter the water. That is the number one prevention. If they don't have permission to enter the water, they should not be entering the water. Uh, that is our biggest thing. We do that every single lesson with every single child, they all have to have permission to enter the water.


They shouldn't be touching the water without you saying that they can do that. Um, um, then otherwise, you know, use your safety equipment. If you're out voting. Where the life jacket, just having it is like having your seatbelt in the car and not wearing it. It's an accident waiting to happen, where your tools use our tools, make sure that you have them and make sure that they all fit well and inspect them regularly.


So if you have old equipment, make sure to replace it with new equipment when it's getting worn and frayed. And then if that's your big all-in-one and then, um, otherwise make sure that you are doing. Year, round swim lessons, as much as you can. Cause that water exposure is a lifesaver. Either kids learn how to navigate water systems.


Like we do jumping in with clothes and ensure that the kids know how their body is going to feel. If they've been fall into a body of water, right. Wearing a life jacket, wearing their clothes, what to do. If they're stuck in the middle, you know, extended back floats, making sure that those kids can float for a long time, they get five minute back floats and we really do time them five minutes.


I got to do that. I'm going to backload now how to keep themselves up so that if something happens, they can be safe and their life is safe. Hmm. Very concrete. Yes. Very all the time. Yeah. And we, we teach them how to remove their clothes. So depending on the age of the level and what we know their skill levels are, you know, we've been working with them week after week after week.


And then we have the test week or the safety week we call it, which we do every may. And, um, so they learn how to, how to take their clothes off or to jump in without goggles. So, you know, learning how to swim without your goggles. You're not going to fall off a boat and have your goggles on, but for swimming lessons, we encourage goggles, especially your goggles.


But we, uh, we, we, um, we make sure that every lesson they learned to wear their goggles for safety, so we can create the positive behavior they need for when they fall in water and that they, they know their surroundings, understand their surroundings. Look. Around and see where it is to go to also rescue yourself because ultimately it's about self rescue.


So learning how, when you get to the top of the water, parents will actually ask us, why do you flip the baby over? Why do you teach the child to flip right? When they get to the top of the water? And that sounds like a ridiculous question, right? When we all know it as professionals, but we're like, that's where the air is.


That's where, right when you're at the top, you need to grab that breath because you may only have a second before you go back under. You need to teach them at the interface of that water is where you grab that breath, recirculate and greet prepare yourself because you may be going back under fair enough.


And any advice around specifically, and I'm going to go to Debbie on this one, backyard pools. Um, I know there has been a high incidence of purchase of backyard pools, indoor pools being closed, and people looking for water source. So some safety tips around the backyard. Yeah, well, that was one of our first approaches.


When we found out, you know, what we're closed, we're going to be closed for the summer. Our biggest campaign approach was, um, backyard safety and what to do, and where I started was teaching and backyards and taught for many years, um, in backyards and an apartment building. Cool. So yes, the pool purchasing industry went crazy last year.


Even our customers were saying we're putting in a backyard pool, they'd call us to find out who to have installed the backyard pool. So talking about the preventions of, you know, making sure you have a gate around the pool, again, not going in the water. So those layers of prevention of making sure you have the gate, don't go near the water need permission.


Then you have your safety equipment. And or how to self-rescue and, um, really talking about all of those different layers of prevention were super important. And that's where we completely focused our attention in our media and our Facebook and, and out to our customers, really getting that information out there.


Um, just, you know, That they needed an adult to be in the water. We talked to the children, you need to ask permission and the adult has to be in the water, you know, just because we're standing around behind you doesn't mean it's okay for you to get in no matter, even if there's another person, you have to have your, what we call it person in charge, um, with you and give you permission.


So, yeah, that, that was super scary. We were all over the news and the media about. About that just because I'd like, okay, now as professionals, we might not give him the swimming lesson, which is only one layer of protection. We need all these other layers to make sure that we're in front of it. And that parent education piece, because you have the parents on deck with you is super important because often one of the other things has been revealing about these shows and conversations is like, um, And I'm going to pull a quote from a show we recently did.


Um, I'm probably not going to do it justice, but I will try, um, is that you can't put the onus of safety squarely on the kid. Um, at the end of the day, as a parent, like you have to be aware of what's going on, so you can't turn your back, take a sip of a beer walk away and so on and so forth. You have to be present.


Yep. You know, I just had a, uh, we have so many stories, so, um, I had a niece call me they're in the backyard. They're at a birthday party. She used to teach for me. So she's pretty aware of the safety factors. And she watched a mom set a two year old down in a water water was about two feet deep. So the water is up here right there.


That's where you've lost your balance in your body, especially a two year old. And so she sat there and watched the mom, put the child in the pool, told the dad, Hey, I'm going to go in the house. Dad still doesn't turn around and watch the child. My DCE walks over just to observe the lifeguard basically.


And sure enough, that little girl fell under the water and she looks over at the dad. She's looking, nobody's going to. Do anything, are they? So she, you know, pick the child up out of the water, furiously walked her into the parent. And I won't tell you the message.


We can leave that to the imagination


that could have been just this very, you know, it's always, that's why we call it an accident. Um, so, um, being alert and aware and, you know, being a water watcher and what to watch for, and that your face, if you're the water watcher does not leave that space where that child is that okay. And we, uh, we even talk about, some people will say, you know, 


make sure we are within arms length, but I love what Robert Strauss taught us.


He said, be, be sure you're within the child's arms length. Because the child needs to be able to reach you. So that's a little distinction. That's one of our little distinctions that we have, um, in our program that we work on, you know, educating the kids and the parents. That's fantastic. Well, this has been packed full of information and things to pay attention to.


Um, same about water Watchers really quick. If you are using a wa you have to be using a water watcher. If you're at a pool, like a backyard pool, you must have an adult with their eyes on the water. And a key to that is actually them not having their cell phone. Right. They can't have a cell phone. And if you have like a tag that says water watcher, That they hold onto, so, or they have on, and then if they need to go and leave, they have to pass that to another adult to watch.


And that's one, uh, for your like backyard parties, that's going to be a key to keeping everybody safe. Is you have that? Like I don't Aton, uh, you know, it can be a bubble wand, whatever, that's your water watcher, uh, stick today. And you made sure that your ha you have that stick. If you need to go do something, it gets passed.


Then they have their eyes on the water. So you're keeping everybody safe. Yeah, or watch or piece is something that's come up in a few episodes. And I think that that's a clear example of why we take like, as a society. So not YouTube, but everybody that subscribes to your service and everybody else around them, why they take it for granted, right?


Because you take it's important to you. You relay the message with urgency, with passion saying, you gotta be safe. You gotta do this. And because you do such a good job it's and this is, I don't know, it's, it's certainly not a critique. Not meant to come across this way, but because you do such a good job, the people that should be paying attention to the job that you're doing, aren't paying attention to the job that you're doing.


Right. And so. Hence my, my thesis, my theory that we, we take water safety for granted seems to be true because you don't hear any government saying if you have a pool, you need to have a water watcher. If you have a pool. I mean, like I know there are fence laws, there are barrier laws. Um, our discussion panel revealed that they're not consistent across the country and they're not.


That's strict. Right. They're not easily enforceable as well. Right. So, um, it just further to that point anyways, I really want to thank you too for your time today. Um, before we go, any final words for, um, people listening or public, the public. Go have fun and be safe and be sure you put safety first and then have fun.


I would say that I should have re burst that, but definitely important water is very attractive and we want to be in the water and we love our water, but it also, we need to respect the water. That's our ultimate goal. Fair enough. And to you, Stacy? Uh, I would just say the exact same thing cause they have fun and the water is fun.


And please, please do get swim lessons for everybody and you have to have all of your kids in the water. Well, thank you very much. And I look forward to catching up with you two ladies sometime soon, have a fantastic opening to your summer. I know it's Memorial day weekend this weekend, so there still as fun to be had safely.


Um, enjoy it and look forward to connect. Thanks for having us, Jason. Yeah, my pleasure. And thank you for sharing your, uh, your words of wisdom. If you'd like the content we've been creating online with the on-deck show and recently our drowning prevention series and all the stuff we share on our social media channels, like in follow for more.

The phone is actually a big one as well. Like your phone down if you're watching kids in a pool. Um, so, you know, uh, again, boat safety, um, sun safety, all that kind of stuff. We've been, we've been putting out, um, on social media and. You know, we just we've been hopeful to be open, was been put onto social media last six months.


I have to admit, we were kind of just not really sure what to post at this point. Cause we've been sort of going through this cycle of, so we're getting back into it as the summer approaches and um, yeah, so we'll just continue with our safety messages and hopefully people will just see them and adhere to them.


And. And I'm hoping that at least it makes a difference in, in a few people's lives. Right. And the collective of all of my colleagues and all sums go owners and anybody who's involved in swimming, you know, if we all do it, it reaches that many more people. 


Yeah, absolutely. And I'm hoping like, you know, in an initiative like this can help as well.


You know, even if it just, if it helps save one person that summer, then it's all worth it. Right. So, um, we, we wanna, you know, get that drowning rate down to zero. Um, but that said, um, you know, It's it's nice when you have, or it's helpful when you have like world bodies, like the who saying that this is a world epidemic and we all need to pay attention to it.


And so on and so forth, let alone Canada, the world is covered, you know, 70% water, right? So you to learn how to swim 


and like who basically they say is Berry first, first line of defense is barriers, which is like the fencing. And the second line of defense is some lessons, right? 


Yeah. Yeah. And I guess going back to my original question, it's just curious why, you know, like we don't seem to prioritize that here.


Right. When it is, you know, like you, don't the fact that we, we have a world body that says that it's great, but it's kind of like, you know, somebody telling you to remember to drink water or to eat, like these are basic things you need to do to survive. Right. And this is one of them. 


And, you know, it's just, like I said, a bunch of us, you know, have been lobbying governments to, to make it as considered as an essential, you know, it's like, it's like for them more children going to school, right.


It's the same thing. It's, it's a life skill. Um, you know, and like you said, tell me, wait, Joe sees it as a, as a, uh, as a problem worldwide. I'm not sure where our government is and why they're not standing up and, and, uh, letting us do what we do. Um, it's, it's unfortunate. Um, but I, I do believe that what we've learned out of this whole entire year is as a collective group, we're working really well together that some school industry, I know, you know, most of the people that I'm referring to, um, and we're not done with the pandemic.


We're not, we're not going to say after the pandemic, we're going to stop this fight for being classified. As essential, we know are essential, we're going to fight and make sure that the government as well knows that we're essential and that everybody out there. And if you ask any, any parent out there and you talk to them about this, they're like you are essential.


So. I'm not sure why the political people are doing what they're doing, but like you said, it's like drinking water and, and, you know, eating healthy, you need to learn how to swim. And, and most people see that here. Um, you know, it's just, we just got to make a little bit more noise, I guess. 


Yeah. And I'm definitely aware of all the work that you guys have been doing as a, as a group lobbying.


Maybe let's, let's talk about what can the general public do. We can get a couple of words out to the general public, who can they write? What drum can they bang to, um, you know, get the information out and help support that caused that fight that you just alluded to. 


Um, it really it's it, I mean, at this point, I'm not sure how much they're listening.


Um, I know obviously the vaccine role is, is priority number one right now, and it should be, um, but it's, it's writing their MP, MPPs, you know, letters to politicians. Um, that's pretty much how we're going to get noticed. I think, you know, at this point, um, in terms of what they can do. I don't know 


that that's fair.


I mean, like, I just, I thought if we could, you know, by virtue of this video, if we could recruit, if you know, a few voices, you know, like, and then point them in the right direction and say, go do this right. And you've done that, right. Your MP, right. Your MPP, right. Your MLA, whoever it is just, you know, make them know that this is important.


So on and so forth. Yeah. 


Your vote counts. Right. And they want you to, they want. Any voter is, is going to get attention. So hopefully if we can get a, you know, a few more people to do that, that'd be 


awesome. Yeah, absolutely. Well, look, um, I want to thank you for your time and sharing all that information and you shoulder shared a wealth of information and we'll, like I said, we'll put it out there and, you know, hopefully there's some folks out there that will pick up something they didn't know and so on and so forth.


Um, Yeah. And, uh, you know, we can go from there, like personally with my three little kids, I'm very grateful to the summer school industry, because I had one of those silent moments, you know, a few months ago where one of our little ones like slipped into the pool, you know, not because of anything, malicious just slipped on a puddle of water and on Obama and into the water.


Right. And nobody saw. Right because there was some, so I'm, I'm, I am eternally grateful to the swim school industry and what you guys do. Right. And so I thank you for that. I thank you for what you do in your area and so on and so 


forth. Well, we all thank you, you know, for making this, this podcast and, you know, in getting the message out.


Right. And, you know, you're, you're helping all, you've been supportive to all of us, so, you know, thank you. And, and, um, you know, we appreciate you guys as well, and all the stuff that you guys do for us, 


Well, that's awesome. So, I mean, I wish you all the best. I hope lessons are went up in Toronto. I mean, not just for the sake of business, but really for the sake of safety.


Absolutely. And, uh, you know, we kind of go from there. Yeah. 


All right. Well, 


thank you. Yeah, no, my pleasure. All the best. Give my best to the team and, uh, we look forward to connecting soon. Great. Okay. Thanks. Thanks for watching. I hope you check us out. Anything that you need. We've got it at .

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