Swimming is the perfect activity for the hot summer months in Southwest Florida. But because water is everywhere in Naples (canals, ponds, pools, the Gulf), you’ve got to be careful, especially with little kids around. “The skill of knowing how to rescue yourself and survive in the water is necessary and vital,” says Jilian Navidonski, manager of Naples Swim School, where she teaches swimming with her sister and the school’s director, Mary Navidonski. Read on for five important water-safety recommendations.
1. Rethink swimming and age.
Jilian says they teach everyone from babies to people in their 80s. “There’s no right or wrong age for swim lessons or gaining confidence in the water,” she adds. To become proficient, Mary estimates about three months of lessons a few times a week.
2. Use the buddy system to watch your swimmers.
Take turns watching your kids or group, especially in a crowded pool or in the Gulf. Even if there’s a lifeguard, Mary points out, “their eyes can’t be on everybody and every situation.”
3. Use the buddy system to swim.
You shouldn’t swim or dive on your own. “If you do swim laps at home by yourself, be smart about it,” says Jilian. She suggests bringing your phone to the edge of the pool or being able to tap your smartwatch to send a text or call 911 if you start feeling out of breath or lightheaded.
4. Take a CPR course.
It’s easier than ever to learn CPR. “There’s a lot of options out there,” says Jilian. You can find courses both in person and online. Then, Jilian explains, “if something happens, you’re able to step in.”
5. Keep calm.
If you or someone else gets into trouble in the water, it’s vital to be prepared and stay level-headed. “If somebody gets hurt, if somebody’s actively drowning, it’s about the instinct kicking in and not panicking,” Jilian says. “Know you have the skills to respond, or that you have the ability to get yourself out of that situation.”