What does drowning look like?

Did you know that the largest percentage of fatal drownings in the United States in kids 19 and younger occur in open water, such as lakes, oceans, and rivers? To get an idea of just how quiet and undramatic from the surface drowning can be, consider this: It is the No. 2 cause of accidental death in children ages 15 and under, just behind vehicle accidents.

Some drownings occur because people do not recognize the signs it is happening. No yelling, no waving. Just a silent gasping for air and 20 to 60 seconds later, submersion. And someone has drowned, maybe in plain sight.

Since the inception of Scouting, learning to swim and engaging in aquatics activities have been core to the program. More than 1.5 million aquatics-related merit badges have been earned by Scouts BSA since 2009. The BSA has also been a leader in promoting and providing training in aquatics safety. For at least 80 years, checklists have been in place to make sure those aquatic experiences are positive ones.

Safe Swim Defense and Safety Afloat govern BSA swimming and boating activities. These programs help provide leaders, Scouts and parents with the tools they need to be prepared to participate in aquatics activities. These programs are the BSA way to conduct a safe and fun aquatics program.

Be prepared for your aquatics adventures this summer!