Within arm's reach—How this safety check makes a difference in the water!

14 July 2017


Summer is a time for family and friends, visiting new places (both local and afar) and having FUN in the water! At the Y, we are a place where all three of these things can happen in the same day! Through all of the fun and adventure, it is the Y’s priority and promise that as the summer months move forward, and at all times of the year, we keep our members and guests safe—safety while enjoying our pools, exercising on our equipment, or participating in one of our youth programs.

Aquatic safety is especially important to our focus on giving everyone the best Y experience possible, especially during the summer months. Swimmers visit our pools from every age and stage of life (and swimming ability), and that means our staff trains to be constantly scanning and ever vigilant while watching one of our 25 pools! With hundreds of visitors a day, Y pools see a lot of activity— they see competitive swimmers carving time off of their laps, group exercise participants treading water towards a healthier self, and new swimmers getting their feet wet. With so many swim levels and abilities the Y ensures everyone is safe by following several safety checks, like the “Test, Mark and Protect” process.

Under this process, there is an especially important element that at the Y we call the “within arm’s reach” rule. To ensure that all swimmers who are not strong enough to swim completely on their own are as safe as possible while in the water, we ask that a parent or guardian, as it states, be within arm’s reach of the swimmer at all times. This rule is meant for any child 12 or under who has not yet successfully completed the requirements of the swim test and does not possess a green swim necklace. It is best when you position yourself so that you can easily see your child at all times, supervise their actions, and eliminate distractions (e.g., cell phone use). This extra layer of protection will aid our lifeguards tremendously in keeping all youth safe in our pools.

We consider all of our parents/guardians as partners in safety—together we can ensure the highest level of vigilance and prevent an accident from occurring. If you have any questions regarding water safety or aquatic programs please do not hesitate to reach out to your YMCA family center location.