Recent Red Cross survey finds nearly half of people experience near-drowning scare during their lifetime

A new survey conducted by the American Red Cross shows the importance of water safety skills, with half of those surveyed saying they have had a near-drowning experience in their lifetime. The survey found that 48 percent reported a near-drowning experience, and nearly 1 in 3 said they had a near-drowning scare between the ages of 5 and 15. The national survey of 1,002 adults was conducted in late March in advance of the summer to assess the water activity plans of families and their water safety knowledge and training.

The Red Cross survey found more than 90 percent of people planning to participate in water-related activities this summer. Nearly half of parents—with children between the ages of 3 and 17—plan to engage in water-related activities where no lifeguard would be on duty. The survey of 1,002 adults was conducted in late March in advance of the summer to assess the water activity plans of families and their water safety knowledge and training.

“More than ever, with so many families planning unsupervised water-related activities, the Red Cross is urging families to learn how to swim and be safe in and around water..,” says Sarah Kerbel, Health and Safety Community Coordinator.

According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on water-related injuries1., the drowning rate in the United States averages nine people per day with a quarter of fatal drownings involving children 14 and younger. This is why Red Cross recommends swimming in areas supervised by a lifeguard. If no lifeguard is on duty, designate an adult as a “water watcher,” someone who maintains constant supervision of children around any water no matter how well they can swim or how shallow the water.

While we are all looking forward to a summer of fun with our family and friends, it’s important to remember that most water-related accidents can be avoided by following a few simple safety guidlines,” says Kerbel. “Everyone should know how to swim well, follow the rules of the area they are swimming in and always have a buddy.  We can help families stay safe by teaching skills through our swimming and water safety program that teaches children and adults to how to swim skillfully and safely.”

The Red Cross survey also found that nearly one in three parents (30 percent) believe that “floaties” are better than supervision. The Red Cross stresses that floaties cannot be used as a substitute for appropriate supervision. 

Water safety is also important for pool owners as almost 10 percent of people surveyed had experiences where they nearly drowned in a private pool.  Pool owners should know what equipment to have on hand and what to do in case of an emergency to make the home pool or hot tub environment as safe as possible.

Red Cross is urging your family safe to stay this summer with these few simple tips and by contacting your local Red Cross to obtain additional information on water safety: 

•  Learn to swim well.  Contact your local Red Cross Chapter at for information on learning how to swim — nearly 3 million people learn to swim each year with Red Cross programs.

•  Never leave children unattended near water—not even for a moment! Adults should practice “reach supervision,” which means to always be within arm’s length when a young child is near water.  For older children–even adults–who are not strong swimmers, practice “active” or constant supervision and make sure they wear U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation devices (PFDs) whenever in or around the water.

•  Know how to respond to an emergency. You should know how to tell if a swimmer is in distress or is drowning and how and when to call for emergency help. You should also learn how to help someone in trouble in water while keeping safe yourself.  Do not create a situation where you become a victim as well! Enroll in Red Cross water safety, first aid and CPR courses to learn what to do.

•  Keep lifesaving gear handy. Always have on hand a ring buoy, life jacket, rope, pole or other object that can be used to help a person in trouble. Remember to have a first aid kit, cordless phone and emergency contact information by the pool.

•  Know when it’s too dangerous. If you, or someone you are swimming with, appear to be too cold, too far from safety, been exposed to too much sun, or had too much strenuous activity, it is time to head for shore or signal for help.

•  Eliminate temptation. Backyard pools should have self-closing, self-latching gates that remain locked when the pool is not being used. Kiddie pools should be emptied and toys removed immediately after use. Empty water pales and buckets so small children cannot fall in and drown.

•  Know what you’re getting into. Check local tides, currents and other conditions which could be dangerous before entering open bodies of water.

For more information, class locations, dates and to register for Red Cross Learn to Swim, water safety, first aid and CPR classes contact

Survey Methodology

The telephone survey of 1,002 U.S. adults 18 years and older on March 20-23, conducted by CARAVAN®, Opinion Research Corporation.  Margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent at the 95% confidence level.

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Water-Related Injuries: Fact Sheet.

About the American Red Cross

The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation’s blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization — not a government agency — and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit or join our blog at

The Northeast Wisconsin American Red Cross is a regional grouping of six chapters serving 19 counties with a mission to prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters throughout the East Central Wisconsin, Fond du Lac County, Lakeland, Manitowoc/Calumet, Neenah-Menasha and Outagamie Chapters. To learn more about Red Cross programs, volunteer opportunities, and how you can help, contact the Northeast region at 920-231-3590 or visit

Jeremy Moeller Receives American Red Cross Lifesaving Award

On June 8, 2008, Jeremy Moeller, trained in American Red Cross Lifeguarding, helped save the life of Mike Skorczewski. After making sure all participants were out of the water for the swim portion of the triathlon, Jeremy went to watch the transition area. Mr. Skorczewski completed the swim portion and went into the transition area and mounted his bike. Just as he exited the area, Mr. Skorczewski collapsed and fell off his bike. Mr. Skorczewski showed no signs of life. Jeremy noticed the victim lying on his back on the pavement. Jeremy provided the address to the lady calling 9-1-1. Another individual was already performing chest compressions so Jeremy ran and retrieved the AED. Jeremy applied the AED pads to the victim and a shock was delivered. As Mr. Skorczewski became more coherent, he was rolled into the recovery position until EMS arrived and took over. Without a doubt, the skills learned in the American Red Cross Heath and Safety Services course and used by Jeremy Moeller contributed to saving Mike Skorczewski’s life.

P5190001For this act, Jeremy Moeller has been awarded the American Red Cross Lifesaving Award for the Professional Responder. This is one of the highest awards given by the Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Health and Safety Services course. The certificate bears the signatures of President and CEP of the American Red Cross, and Chairman of the American Red Cross.

This action exemplifies the highest degree of concern of one human being for another who is in distress.

Jeremy Moeller, with his American Red Cross Lifesaving Award

Jeremy Moeller, with his American Red Cross Lifesaving Award

Lifeguarding staff from Ashwaubomay Park that also assisted in the save: (l-r) Cole Vandermause, Kevin Hartzheim, Caitlin Kohlbeck, John Duffy and Jermey Moeller. (not picutred: Mitchell Dyer)

Lifeguarding staff from Ashwaubomay Park that also assisted in the save: (l-r) Cole Vandermause, Kevin Hartzheim, Caitlin Kohlbeck, John Duffy and Jermey Moeller. (not picutred: Mitchell Dyer)