"It is so important:" Milwaukee Y is helping people stay safe in the water this summer

MILWAUKEE -- While plenty of people enjoy a dip in the pool or lake during the summer, drowning remains the second leading cause of death among children ages 1-14. But the Milwaukee YMCA has a program to make sure people stay safe in the water this summer.

"I like swimming, but I don't know how," said six-year-old Elise Turtenwald.

Thanks to a partnership between the Milwaukee YMCA and Milwaukee County Parks, kids like Elise, as well as adults, have access to affordable swim lessons.

"Rather than traditional stroke development swim lessons, the program is focused on water rescue, safety around the water and then basic life-saving skills," said Jacob Byrne, product director of aquatics for the Milwaukee YMCA.

Swim safety at the Milwaukee Y

The Y is in its second summer running the Milwaukee Swims Program. For just $5, or $10 for a family, you get nine lessons running through August 20th.

"We're an urban community, and drowning statistics for all the age groups and for all ethnicities are very troubling. The Milwaukee Y felt that it was very important to bring these programs out into the community and help make Milwaukee a safe place," said Byrne.

About 900 people took advantage of the program last summer, and the numbers could reach 1,100 this year.

It's an effort to ensure a summer of happy, healthy fun.

"It is so important so you stay safe and no injuries happen," said Caitlyn Schaubel.

"Gives them some basic life-saving skills. They get the opportunity to come in the pool and splash around, and that's what summer is all about, having fun in the water," said Byrne.

Registration is still available at several locations throughout the area.

"Some sites have walk-up registration available. We still have slots available at Washington Park and Lincoln Park, as well as Jackson Park and Grobschmidt Park in South Milwaukee," said Byrne.

Swim safety at the Milwaukee Y