SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif.– The city of Santa Barbara announced it is offering low-cost swim programs and junior lifeguard positions in honor of national water safety month.
The city Parks and Recreation Department will provide low-cost swim lessons for children ages six months to 17 years old to learn the basics of water safety from swimming skills to ocean safety.
"We take water safety very seriously and want to ensure kids in our community have the knowledge and skills necessary to stay safe in and around water," said Tony Sholl, Aquatics Supervisor for the City of Santa Barbara. “Knowing how to swim is a critical life skill that everyone should be able to learn, not just those who can afford it.”
Affordable swim lessons are offered to those 12 years old and under at the Los Baños del Mar and Ortega Park Pool.
The city says "residents can register for a session of eight 30-minute lessons for $50, roughly $6 per lesson". All who participate will also receive a summer swim pass good for one adult and two children to enjoy recreation swim at Los Baños for free.
For residents unable to afford swim lessons can access swim lesson scholarships to cover the fee. The scholarships are funded by the PARC Foundation who has recently raised 180 swimsuits for children to be able to learn in appropriate swim gear.
Those that already know how to swim from 7 to 17 can join a multi-week Junior Lifeguards program. Over the course of the program, participants gain skills in ocean safety, hazard identification, first aid, and surf lifesaving.
“The ocean is a totally different environment than a pool. The water is moving and unpredictable; you don’t know what the structure of the sand is like underwater; there could be rip currents,” said Santa Barbara Junior Lifeguard Director Zane Booth. “With the beach at our doorstep, it’s so important for kids to know how to keep themselves and others safe in the ocean.”
If interested, you can register to attend the Junior Lifeguards program Monday through Friday for all eight weeks of summer for $650, approximately $16 per day, or a single 3-week session for $345.
Scholarships are available for eligible families to attend the program for free. These scholarships are funded by donations to the PARC Foundation and distributed through SBPAL’s Campership Alliance program, according to the city.
If unable to commit to the weeks long lifeguard program, the Parks and Recreation Department will host a lifeguard certification course over Memorial Day weekend for a reduced price of $50.
Once certified, participants who successfully complete the course will leave with American Red Cross certifications in lifeguarding, CPR, AED, and first aid and be equipped to respond in the event of a water emergency.
The city provided the following:
Registration is now open for all water safety programs and is available on a first-come-first-served basis at SBParksAndRec.org. Families interested in scholarship opportunities must create their online accounts before reaching out to Aquatics@SantaBarbaraCA.gov.
More information about swim lessons can be found at SantaBarbaraCA.gov/SwimLessons.
More about Junior Lifeguards can be found at SantaBarbaraCA.gov/SummerCamp.
Groups and individuals interested in supporting water safety programming scholarships can donate to the PARC Foundation and indicate “Aquatics” as the designation for their donation.