Who We Are

The World’s Largest Swimming Lesson™ (WLSL) is a global drowning prevention event launched by the World Waterpark Association in 2010.  The program is supported by leading aquatics and safety organizations around the world and takes place at all types of aquatic facilities from huge waterparks to public pools and swim schools. WLSL serves as a platform to help communities build awareness about the fundamental importance of teaching children to swim. Swimming is a life-saving skill for children and a vital tool to prevent drowning, the number one cause of death for U.S. children ages 1-4, and second leading cause for ages 5-14.

Research from the American Academy of Pediatrics shows risk of drowning can be reduced by 88% if children participate in formal swimming lessons between the ages of 1-4.  Yet, a survey conducted by the American Red Cross in 2020 found that more that half of Americans (56%) either can't swim or don't have the necessary basic swimming skills.  TEAM WLSL™ is on a mission to make everyone aware that swim lessons are vital.

Come join us for our 15th anniversary World's Largest Swimming Lesson™ event to be held on Thursday, June 20, 2024!  TEAM WLSL™ has sent the message Swimming Lesson Save Lives™ to billions.  Register and help share this important message with as many kids and adults as possible this summer.

Team WLSL Accomplishments

Since its inception, more than 383,000 children and adults in 53 countries on 6 continents have participated in WLSL lessons generating more than 2.7 BILLION life saving, learn-to-swim media impressions. The overall success of the WLSL event is thanks to the support of hundreds of organizations thousands of individuals who have hosted or taught a lesson in their facility or helped communicate our powerful message to their community.

Other Highlights

  • TEAM WLSL™ holds five Guinness World Records™ for the largest simultaneous swimming lesson conducted at multiple venues including the current official record which was set in 2014 with 36,564 participants in 22 countries.
  • TEAM WLSL™ holds three Guinness World Records™ for the largest swimming lesson conducted at a single venue.  Sun-N-Fun Lagoon in Naples, Florida, set the current official Guinness World Record™ for the largest swimming lessons with 1,308 participants.  Other venues have worked to break this record, but have not received official designation from the Guinness organization.
  • The WLSL event is truly global with 53 countries on 6 continents having participated since the event launched in 2010. Participating countries include: Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Bahrain, Benin, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Cayman Islands, Chile, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, Germany, Ghana, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Switzerland, Thailand, Turks and Caicos Islands, Uganda, Ukraine, UAE, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.
  • More than 50 life-saving and safety organizations around the globe have thrown their support behind TEAM WLSL™, helping to share our message and encourage participation in this annual drowning prevention event
  • TEAM WLSL™ instructors, lifeguards and volunteers have provided more than 170,000 working hours of water safety training.
  • In 2023, TEAM WLSL™ continued its global mission to share the message Swimming Lessons Save Lives™!!  Tens of thousands of kids and adults on 6 continents leaned life-saving skills and had a blast helping to build awareness about this vital cause.  We're so proud of all our Host Locations and individual participants for their work and contributions to prevent loss of life through drowning. We can't wait for our 15th anniversary WLSL Day 2024.


    The problem is real

    • Drowning remains in the top 5 causes of unintended injury related death from birth to 54 years old.
    • It is estimated that for every fatal drowning victim, another 5-10 victims receives hospital related care for non-fatal drowning injuries.
    • In 2018, 7,200 were seen at a hospital emergency department (ED) for a drowning event, with 35% of those children either hospitalized or transferred for further care.

    Many lack basic swimming skills

    • A 2020, a survey completed by the American Red Cross found that more than half of all Americans (56%) either can't swim or don't have all of the basic swimming skills.

    Parental supervision is key

    • Drowning is fast and silent and can happen in as little as 20-60 seconds.
    • Despite the fact that lack of supervision plays a role in the majority of drowning deaths, according to a SafeKids Worldwide 2016 report, less than half of parents (49%) indicate they remain within arms' reach of their child in the water.

    Swimming Lessons Make a Difference

    • While kids are never "drownproof", participation in formal swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning among children age 1-4 by up to 88%.
    • According to a recent poll conducted by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA), more than 9 in 10 Americans (95%) believe it is important for children to learn how to swim at an early age.

    Drowning Risk is Greatest for Males &American Indian/Alaskan Natives and African Americans

    • According to the CDC, more than 75% of people who die from drowning are male and drowning death rates for Black people are 1.5 times higher than the rates for White people.
    • Disparities are highest among Black children ages 5-9 (rates 2.6 times higher) and ages 10-14 (rates 3.6 times higher).