Sussex Family YMCA expands Water Wise with the first Free Open Water Safety Project

Rehoboth, Delaware – As swim season approaches, the YMCA of Delaware encourages children and parents throughout Delaware to explore the many benefits of swimming, while also keeping safety top of mind. The Y’s Water Wise initiative has taught thousands of school age and underserved children throughout Delaware potential life saving water safety skills. The Water Wise program and instruction historically takes place at indoor and outdoor swimming pools. Lauri Weeks, Executive Director of the Sussex Family Y said, “In that Delaware is surrounded by open water, especially our beaches in Sussex County, the need for the Y to further serve the community with instruction and strategy for open water safety became apparent.”

For the first time, the Y will offer free to the community, open water safety instruction. Grouped by age, the classes will take place Saturday, June 6, Saturday, June 13 and Saturday June 20. Classes will meet at the end of Savannah Road, in the parking lot at Lewes Beach. The meeting place will be marked with YMCA flags. Each Saturday there will be two sessions. The first, geared towards pre-school, is scheduled from 8:30am to 9:15am for ages 3 to 5 years. Parents are required to participate in this session with

their children. Skills to be presented include breath control, floating, kicking, beach and basic water safety. The second grouping is aimed at school aged children, ages 6 to 13. This class takes place from 9:15am to 10am. Parents are required to drop off and pick up their children, but not required to stay throughout instruction. Skills to be presented include water adjustment, breath control, beach and basic water safety.

Registration is required because class size is limited and will be filled on a first come, first served basis. To register, go to the Sussex Family Branch, located at 20080 Church Street, Rehoboth, Delaware 19971 or call Lydia Schmierer, Sussex Family Y Aquatic Coordinator at 302-296-9622 x 116. You can also email Lydia at

May is National Water Safety month, and the YMCA encourages parents to take an active roll in their child’s safety. The following are safety best practices in and around water:

  • Only swim when and where there is a lifeguard on duty; never swim alone.
  • Adults should constantly and actively watch their
  • Inexperienced or non-swimmers should wear a Coast Guard-approved life
  • Parents or guardians of young children should be within an arm’s
  • Children and adults should not engage in breath holding

Our Mission

The YMCA is an association of people of all ages, ethnic groups and religious affiliations that strives to cultivate the human potential, self-esteem, and dignity of all people. Our organization exists to develop and practice the Christian principles of love, caring, inclusiveness, justice and peace…and to enrich the emotional, physical and social life of all individuals, families and our community.