There are stereotypes that have a ring of truth and some that are meant to repress.
Believe it or not there was a time when “Blacks” were not allowed in public pools. Previous generations were not allowed to hang out at public beaches. That left ponds, creeks, and lakes for us to swim in. As African Americans moved inland, the opportunity to learn to swim grew fewer and fewer. Suddenly, there were generations of African American that did not learn to swim. For some the fear of drowning was almost as damaging to the culture as the stereotype.
There are many different cultural and social reasons why past generations of African American did not swim. Feel free to research for yourself. The focus of this blog is to promote swimming safety and awareness.
I was lucky enough to have the YMCA as an after-school babysitter. One of the many activities the YMCA provided was swimming lessons. It took me a few tries to overcome my fear of the water. Soon I was swimming like a fish; a wounded fish, but I was still a fish. I vowed that when I grew up, I would have a house with pool and a fireplace. I would make sure my kids knew how to swim. With the fireplace thing; well if you are going to dream, dream big. As a 10-year-old, that was me dreaming big. I did not know it but learning to swim and learning to deal with the family members who couldn’t swim, put me on my prepping path.
Although I did not float well, I became a strong swimmer. I made it a habit to locate poolside floatation devices before I got in the water. I learned the buddy carry (tow) rescue method. When I swam with younger family and friends, I made sure that we stayed near the lifeguard station.
By fate, my wife is a great swimmer. I made sure that our children were proficient in swimming. I even threw in some survival tips I learned from the navy. Some of the tricks I learned were how to make your clothing into floatation devices.
There are two easy ways to make clothing into floatation devices. The first method involves using your pants. I learned using US Navy dungarees and commo pants, but denim or similar material will work also.
Another method is to use your shirt as a floatation device. This technique is useful because let’s face it, how often are you in or near a body of water with pants on.
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