Staff at a New Brunswick swimming pool are making waves across the country as they develop their very own water safety program for young people.
The move was prompted after the Canadian Red Cross announced an end to its national swimming education program after 76 years.
“It kind of came to a shock to everyone,” said Aaron Muzzatti, the aquatics and programming coordinator in St Stephen, NB
As municipalities across the county ponder other water safety programs to fill the gap, Muzzatti said the Red Cross’ decision presented an opportunity for the town to build its own curriculum.
“Initially, we only looked at this as a facility program,” he said, “we hadn’t actually considered this to be more than just our own facility.”
The initiative has since gained support and resources from nearby pools in Hampton and Sussex, with the program being dubbed Fundy Water Safety.
“We liked the Red Cross standard,” said Muzzatti, “I told them what we were working on here and things ballooned a little bit from there.”
Staff have been designing the program to teach a steady progression of water safety skills level-to-level.
“We actually added in a couple levels the Red Cross didn’t have because we felt we wanted to accommodate more ages,” said Muzzatti.
Other facilities across the country have also expressed interest in the program, including locations in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
“We’re hoping to see more interest in the program and rollout hopefully nationwide,” said Muzzatti, who’s hoping for an official start to the program by the beginning of this summer.