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Fun, free pool events promote safe water adventures this season


There will be free swim time and water safety activities at over 30 participating city, county, and private pools statewide. Most events will be held on April Pools Day, Saturday, April 18, but check with your local pool for specific dates and times.


Swimming and water recreation season is just around the corner, and now is the time to get ready for fun and safe adventures. The 22nd annual April Pools Day is Saturday, April 18, with over 30 city, county and private pools statewide offering free opportunities for families to swim, learn proper lifejacket fitting and use, drowning prevention strategies and rescue techniques in case of a water emergency.

Most events will be held on Saturday, April 18, but check with your local pool for specific dates and times.

Tips to stay safe on the water

  • Make sure all family members know how to swim. Most pools offer classes.
  • Always wear a lifejacket when boating in lakes, rivers or Puget Sound. Have infants and children wear a lifejacket when in or near open water.
  • It's best to swim only in designated areas with lifeguards. If that is not possible, wear a lifejacket.
  • Be especially careful when swimming, boating, inner tubing, or rafting in rivers due to dangers from currents and cold temperatures. The safest decision may be not to enter the water.
  • Supervise children and teens when they are in or near all types of water. Ensure supervisors are close enough to provide immediate rescue to children.
  • Do not drink alcohol or use impairing substances when swimming, boating, or supervising children.
  • Learn CPR.

Drowning facts

  • Drowning is the second leading cause of unintentional injury death for children and teens age 1-17 years old in Washington.
  • In 2013, there were 103 unintentional drowning deaths of Washington residents. Thirteen of these drowning deaths were children younger than 18.

Learn more about local water risks and how to stay safe at our Public Health Insider blog.

What the experts are saying

"Swimming and water recreation are great ways for families to enjoy physical activity together," said Dr. Jeff Duchin, Interim Health Officer for Public Health — Seattle & King County. "Make the fun last by having good swimming skills and taking a healthy dose of caution when you're on or near the water."

"There are lots of ways to enjoy the many local pools in Washington State. April Pools Day will help kids learn how to be safe in the water. There are often scholarships available to ensure that all children are able to access the swim lessons they need to have fun and stay safe in the water," added Elizabeth Bennett, Director of Community Benefit and Guest Services with Seattle Children's Hospital.

"We recommend swimming only when a lifeguard is present," said Christopher Williams, Seattle Parks and Recreation Acting Superintendent. "Fortunately, April Pools Day exists so that families can have a ton of fun, learn about water safety and do it all in the presence of lifeguards."

April Pools Day activities are supported by Public Health – Seattle & King County, in collaboration with the Drowning Prevention Network of Washington State, Seattle Parks and Recreation, Safe Kids, Seattle Children's Hospital, and Washington Parks and Recreation Association.