Kids in Pascagoula learn water safety through partnership with R - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Kids in Pascagoula learn water safety through partnership with Red Cross

Officials say the number of drownings in Jackson County is higher than the national average. (Photo Source: WLOX News) Officials say the number of drownings in Jackson County is higher than the national average. (Photo Source: WLOX News)
PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) -

Hot summers often mean taking a dip in the pool or ocean to cool off. 

But in the blink of an eye, water has the potential to turn deadly. That's why many parents are taking advantage of swimming lessons offered at the Andrew Johnson Pool in Pascagoula.

"I don't want them to drown. I'm afraid that right now in the summer, we go out too much we go to pools too often. We go to the beach, and we go to the river, and I want them to be able to swim," said Karina Hernandez, who signed her two daughters up for the class. 

The swimming lessons are part of a partnership between the city and the American Red Cross. 

"We were selected to help decrease the number of drownings in Jackson County," said Antoinette Johnson, Pascagoula Parks and Recreation program director.  

A number Johnson says is currently higher than the national average. 

"This class is important because we are around water here on the Gulf Coast. We need to make sure that the kids can at least save themselves, or be ok until help arrives," said Johnson.  

Water safety instructor Mark Humes says the biggest challenge for many students is getting over their fear of water. 

Parents like 6-year-old Drake's mom say instructors are doing a good job of making the kids feel comfortable.

"He's learning everything....swimming, jumping, the basics, and I'm just so proud," said Amber Jones. 

The partnership should reach its goal to teach 500 people to swim during the next three years.

For more information on the swim classes, call 228-938-2356 or email ajohnson@cityofpascagoula.com

Copyright 2016 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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