by Roby Holland, National Sales Manager
During the summer, I like to go to a pool or to the ocean for a dip with my family when the heat is too much, or after a long day working in the yard. I was taught a long time ago to always have a healthy respect for Mother Nature and more importantly , water. It is the great equalizer, no matter how big or tough you are, water could always defeat you. During my time in and around the water I have personally had several close calls with drowning. Three close calls stick out in my memory. My first happen at a friend’s house in the winter. I wanted to grab a piece of ice from the pool that had no top on it. I lost my balance and fell into the pool crashing through the ice. I was able to make it to back to the side of the pool, only to be pulled out to safety by one angry father and Uncle. Second time occurred on vacation with my cousins in the surf when I was just eight. We were in a line holding hands when a large wave broke my grip, sent me tumbling int0 the wash and pulled me back in to the grasp of another wave. My savior this time was a stranger who was on the beach and saw me tumbling around in the surf. My third incident, which still haunts me today, was a sailing accident. It was my first time using a harness on a fast and unstable boat. The wind cut out and the boat turtled (flipped entirely upside-down). The harness that I was attached to pulled me under and since I was not familiar with the harness system I could not unhook myself. Under that water I struggled to get free till I began to run out of breath. I was able to get myself into the cockpit of the boat which had a pocket of air and was able to grab a breath, which saved my life. There are many other times I have been in the water in a bad situation only to get out because I knew how to swim and respected the water. The other day I watched my son swim for the very first time and I could not have been prouder. Mind you, we are not talking about doing laps, he is only two. He was swimming under the supervision of an ISR instructor. This is a swimming class that teaches babies, toddlers and other children how to float and swim. My family spends a lot of time near the water and the possibility of our son drowning is our biggest fear. This summer, my wife and I wanted our son to take swimming classes, and while searching on the Internet we came across this class. This class was different; not only do they teach your kids how to swim, but they teach them how to swim fully clothed! If you have ever tried to swim fully clothed you know how hard it is. All those wet clothes weigh you down and tires you out, making it difficult, if not impossible, to swim. Our concern is not when our son is in the water; it is when he is around the water and accidentally falls into the water when my wife and I are not around. We wanted to make sure he was prepared if he fell into the water without being ready. When I fell into the icy pool, it was not summer time and I was not planning to go for a swim in a large down jacket and snow mobile boots. We all know accidents happen and the more prepared we make ourselves, the better we react to these situations. I encourage all parents to look into these classes, or some similar type of swimming class and prepare your child for the water. It is the best investment you will ever make!