Monday, August 22, 2016

Sink or Swim

You would think that swimming lessons would be essential for South Carolina Lowcountry children who live surrounded by water of every kind. But sadly, that's not the case for the area's poor.

In the first half of this year there have been 13 lives lost already in the lakes, rivers, and ocean in the Georgetown area. The most recent victim was a 12-year-old boy.

It's hot in the summer in South Carolina and all that beautiful water tempts with free fun and an opportunity to cool off.

There is no public pool in Georgetown with inexpensive swimming lessons like I had growing up. It costs $85 joining fee plus $69 a month for a family to use the YMCA and swimming lessons cost extra on top of that.

The schools are poor; no pools there, but second graders are given four free swim lessons during the school year at the YMCA pool.

It's a start, but anyone who has raised a child knows that four swim lessons at age 7 aren't enough.

It's not only the children who can't swim. In McClellanville, population 499, a fishing village just down the road, there is a monument erected in memory of those who have lost their lives by drowning. The names on the memorial are those of 58 of the town's commercial fishermen, men who made their living on the water and the water took their lives.



The Lowcountry Seaman's Memorial is dedicated to Chet Anderson, 34, a shrimper who died in 1999.

He drowned while saving a crew member who fell overboard.

Anderson could swim, but his crew member could not.



  1. It is a tragedy that more isn't being done to teach children to swim.

  2. I held my Red Cross Water Safety Instructor certificate for a long time, taught swimming for a number of years, and have been a good swimmer, but one thing that struck me when I read your sad post is that swimming in the ocean is very different than in a pool. I'm not sure how I would do in the ocean. But four lessons is certainly not enough and the prices....yikes! Sad losses to read about. Thanks for sharing.

  3. It always amazes me when people can't swim. I learned on my own with my older sister and then had p.e. courses in high school.

  4. My husband never had swimming lessons because his family was gone all summer. I took lessons all my teenage years and did it all but the Instructor's class although both my girls took it and gave swim lessons and were lifeguards.
    I cannot imagine having a child near water and no lessons...seems like a good project for a service organization...Shriners, Lions...a mothers group...?? ")

  5. That's a crying shame that swimming lessons are not made available. I never had a swimming lesson but friends and adults taught me how to swim.

  6. That is very sad. I am amazed every summer, even around here, at the number of people who drown. But, I can't swim and neither can my husband. Daddy gave up trying to teach me when I was young. I was too afraid of the water. Rosie is so pretty in your last post. She matches the chair.

  7. That cost and inaccessibility are real obstacles..and if parents don't know how to swim, they can't teach their own children. We have quite a high drowning rate in New Zealand, being an island nation, but there are swimming pools at most schools and swimming is taught as part of the curriculum. Many people here get lessons for their children as babies, mostly just getting them comfortable in the water and having fun.

  8. It is a shame indeed children can't learn to swim without money. We always had the schools teaching them one year at the age of 7 or 8 years. But here also money counts and the schools have skipped the lessons! We have many migrant children at the moment in Europe and our country and mostly they are victims of drowning.

  9. Cynthia it is really inteesting that school don't teach to swim but in my country swimming lesson are not free but families get extra money for children to support them

  10. It doesn't always have to cost money to learn how to swim. Someone, anyone, can teach someone, anyone, how to swim, it doesn't cost a thing to teach from the heart. Introducing swimming while taking a bath is a first step, and its free! I hate seeing news of children drowning, it breaks my heart.

  11. I had a largely British childhood I swim like a turtle with a long neck and for a beach loving Pisces I loath the water - I made sure all my kids could swim to squad level when we got to Australia, which is probably why he felt safe jumping off a cliff into water!
    Your post shows the horrors of water. So sad to read 12 lives have been lost.
    Wren x

  12. How sad! Heart rendering that money affects a school curriculum.

  13. Totally different here in Australia.
    You could go so far to say that learning to swim is
    I hope Anna and Don's 4 young fellas are having swimming lessons
    or can already swim???

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  15. Gosh that's rather expensive for swimming lessons. Certainly 4 is not enough.
    Sad when so many can't learn to swim..

  16. Very sad. We take it for granted here that all children learn to swim as part of the school curriculum. Many of us also send our children to private lessons and they are reasonably priced.