Swim Lessons at Ortega Park Pool | Photo: Courtesy

Santa Barbara is en route to reclaiming its sunny title — beaches are beginning to be speckled with umbrellas, waves with surfers, pools with cannonballs, and flip-flops sported by almost every resident. Sunscreen and water bottles are becoming yet again the new bag staple — and don’t forget the sunglasses, of course. 

With May being National Water Safety Month (with the weather finally starting to warm up), and with drowning being the second leading cause of death among 1-4-year-olds, the City Parks and Recreation Department is offering low-cost water safety programs for Santa Barbara’s youth population.

“Drowning is a leading cause of death for children and the number-one cause for ages 1-4. We’re using a three-pronged approach to improve Santa Barbara’s water safety,” said Santa Barbara’s Aquatics Supervisor Tony Sholl. 

Swimming lessons are the first and most important of all programs offered, and will be provided for ages 6 months through 12 years at Los Baños del Mar and Ortega Park Pool. The lessons run around $6/lesson, but swim lesson scholarships, funded by the PARC Foundation, will also be available. 

Santa Barbara Junior Lifeguards at East Beach | Photo: Courtesy

The next level from swim lessons would be the Junior Lifeguards program for youth aged 7-17. All training and fun activities are led by professional beach lifeguards, and junior lifeguards will walk away with knowledge in “ocean safety, hazard identification, first aid, and surf lifesaving.” The program is eight weeks long and around $16/day, and scholarships will be available. Junior lifeguard training will undoubtedly set youth up for safety around the ocean, especially living in Santa Barbara. 

Last in relation to National Water Safety Month is the lifeguard training course being held over Memorial Day weekend for the low cost of $60 (instead of the usual $200). Those who complete the course (open to all community members) will receive American Red Cross certifications in lifeguarding, CPR, AED, and first aid. 

Celebrate and bring awareness to National Water Safety Month by participating in these programs and doing your part to keep sunny Santa Barbara safe and beach friendly. Register for courses at this link


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