About

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 the leading aquatics and safety organizations and takes place at all types of aquatic facilities from huge waterparks to small community 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 children 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.

The 2022 World's Largest Swimming Lesson™ will be held on Thursday, June 23rd.  TEAM WLSL™ has sent the message Swimming Lesson Save Lives™ to billions.  Register today and help share this important message with as many kids and adults as possible this summer.

Team WLSL Accomplishments

Since its inception, more than 332,000 children and adults on 6 continents have participated in WLSL lessons generating more than TWO 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 49 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, Ecuador, Falkland Islands, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Lebanon, Lithuania, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, 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 160,000 working hours of water safety training.
  • In 2021, TEAM WLSL™ continued its global effort to share the message Swimming Lessons Save Lives™ by supporting host locations conducting in-person World's Largest Swimming Lesson™ events when possible, hosting virtual lessons and water safety training sessions where in-person lessons were prohibited. TEAM WLSL™ also helped share important swimming and water safety messages produced by our host locations on social media.  We're so proud of the efforts of all who joined us for our 12th event to prevent the loss of life through drowning during such a challenging year and can't wait for the WLSL Day 2022.

    WHY THIS MATTERS

    The problem is real

    • Per the American Academy of Pediatrics, drowning is now THE leading cause of unintended death for children ages 1-4 and third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death in children and teens 5-19.
    • According to the World Health Organization, drowning is the 3rd leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for 7% of all injury-related deaths.
    • In addition to fatal drownings, 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 percent) 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 percent) 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 percent) 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).