Boston takes action against “drowning crisis” with free swimming lessons

By Sebastian Ospina

Boston Mayor Kim Janey announced today the “Swim Safely Partnership,” a program to fight against the historical racial barriers associated with swimming lessons, along with recent high rates of drownings in Massachusetts.

Courtesy of Creative Commons

Aiming to improve water safety, and to take down economic and racial obstacles to swimming lessons, the initiative offers lessons free of charge to children and adults at the YMCA.

“Our beautiful city gems, such as our pools and our beaches, should be places where people can access those areas safely and with confidence,” said Janey on Wednesday, adding that “this crisis calls for increased swimming safety and swimming awareness.”

During segregation, Black Americans were denied entry into swimming pools, creating an intergenerational trauma that affects communities of color today. According to CDC data, Black children ages 10 to 14 are 7.6% more likely to drown than white children of the same age.

Swim Safely’s “Learn to Swim” lessons start Monday for people of all ages. For more information, residents can email